Another clear and sunny start to Wednesday heralded another day of record-breaking racing back on schedule with the second Supersport race starting the day at 10:45 a.m. This was to be followed by the second sidecar race at 1:00 p.m. with a final practice session after for Friday’s prestigious Senior event, the day ending with another qualifying lap for the electric bikes. However, nobody could have predicted the drama that would unfold throughout the day. Some was positive and some other elements were not, but as ever the TT showed why it is very different and unique in the world of two-wheeled motorsport!
Relentless Supersport TT Race 2
) If Ian Hutchinson won the Relentless Supersport TT Race 2 he would become the first man to win three Isle of Man TT
races within 24-hours. (bottom
) The Relentless Suzuki team wasn't about to let the Honda-riding Hutchinson sweep their namesake race at the Isle of Man. They completely rebuilt Bruce Anstey bike for Supersport Race 2.
The list of runners and riders read like a carbon copy of yesterday’s first race. Hutchinson had definitely moved into the favorites category as had Amor. The Relentless Suzuki team reported having totally rebuilt their bike for Anstey, replacing just about anything they thought could break as well as praying to the fairies for some favorable luck at the famous ‘fairy bridge’ near Castletown!
Another rider with something to prove was of course Michael Dunlop, who had set the unofficial lap record in practice, but who of course, failed to finish in Tuesday’s fist race for the class. No doubt the pressure of coming from the Dunlop dynasty was weighing heavily at the beginning of the day, but certainly not at the end!
Just when everything looked set for riders to appear in parc ferme, the local radio station reported rain from their commentary point at Glen Helen on the West of the island, about a third of the way around the 37.75 mile course. This was confirmed by marshal’s posts in the area and the organizers quickly announced a 30-minute delay to the start time.
Those spectators who have never been before who were sitting bathed in sunshine with clear blue sky’s above must have found the delay hard to understand. Even the top of Snaefell, the mountain that dominates the course, was clear and visible, fog here normally being the cause of delays. But not on this occasion!
Just as riders were expecting to re-appear for the revised start, the commentary team announced the rain had turned into hail stones which were getting heavier. The rain was starting to spread to other parts of the course as well, despite the start area and pits still being dry and sunny. Another half-hour delay was announced, the organizers hoping to get the racing underway at 11:45.
However, just before 11:30 a further delay was announced of one hour as signs were that the weather would improve to allow racing to take place rather than move to Thursday, again affecting all the other activities planned. Certainly most riders, crews and journalists were not looking forward to another days racing without any break or rest. This delay certainly put to the speculation Ian Hutchinson could become the first man to win three TT races within a 24-hour period.
Drama certainly seems to have become a byword for this year’s TT, but this weather delay caused by the island’s micro-climate is not the headline grabbing type that anybody wants to report. During such delays the roads remain closed and spectators just have to sit it out on walls and grass banks unless they are in a position to move, having chosen a vantage point on the outside of the course.
Obviously the wait puts further pressure on the riders who were tuned to go on the allotted time. Activity in the paddock came to a grinding halt with catering facilities doing well with groups surmising on the likely decisions from race control that were in constant communication with the meteorologists at the airport in the south of the island.
Despite these optimistic reports the radio continued to report heavy rain on the west of the island. No real surprise to the old hands when a further hour delay to 1:45 was announced, this eventually being extended to 2:00. So it was then that finally the riders came to the start line to be flagged away on course that had a section between Greeba and Kirk Michael with wet roads that were slowly drying thanks to some weak sun and a healthy breeze.
Connor Cummins, an Isle of Man native (known as a Manx), was competing in his home race for the fourth time.
From the start it was clear that Dunlop was on a mission on his 600 Yamaha, as was local Manxman Connor Cummins. Guy Martin was also pushing hard, little knowing that he would not make the end of the race due to machine failure. Anstey too was on a charge, although it seemed that only 21 year-old Dunlop was unfazed by the wet conditions on part of the track. In fact, brother William pulled in at the end of the first lap along with several other riders not willing to push on the mixed road conditions.
So at the end of the first lap it was Irishman Dunlop from Cummins and Martin and Anstey. McGuinness and Plater were further down the field obviously taking it steady, although according to reports the wet section from Appledene to Ballaugh, was gradually drying.
Speeds were definitely short of the record-breaking pace yesterday though, with Dunlop posting a lap speed of 119.743, seven below his pace the other night in practice. As conditions improved so did the pace, but it seemed that nobody had any answer to Dunlop as he continued at the front even after his pits stop at the end of the second lap.
Suzuki-mounted Anstey had managed to get past Martin on his ailing Honda that would finally expire at the end of the third lap. With Cummins on a Kawasaki and Dunlop on a Yamaha every Japanese brand was represented at the head of the pack, which was just that, reminiscent of short circuits despite the time delay in starting.
McGuinness was slipping further down the order and was well out of contention. Martin was also dropping further down, but Plater had made a few places and was in fourth at the end of the third, with the top three remaining in the same order. By the end of the third Dunlop had in fact pulled out a 24-second cushion on the local man Cummins. But Cummins had a problem as he crossed the line for his final lap and although he recovered, it allowed Anstey to take second and go after Dunlop.
) Michael Dunlop rebounded from a DNF in Tuesday's race to win the Isle of Man Supersport Race 2; (middle
) Bruce Anstey also
dropped-out of Race 1 after an electronics failure, but came back to take second for the Relentless Suzuki Team; (right
) Isle of Man
native Connor Cummins improved on his fifth-placed finish in the 2008 Isle of Man Supersport races with a podium in Race 2.
However, the nephew of TT legend and 26 times winner Joey Dunlop and son of Robert, a five-times winner, was in no mood to be caught and crossed the line over 30 seconds in front of Anstey to take his first TT win and put the Dunlop name once again on the TT silverware.
Cummins came home to a very creditable third after four years of trying, with Plater fourth, and Hutchinson fifth.
An emotional Dunlop said, “The week had been a disaster I just wanted to pack up and go home, I am glad my mates talked me into staying!”
With jubilant celebrations taking place at one end of the pits, the electric bikes entered in the TTXGP once again headed out onto the course for a second lap, although most had qualified yesterday. All looked quite impressive, with only lack of real noise being the disadvantage to watching crowds now bathing in warm afternoon sunshine.
) Team Agni's Ron Barber had the fastest TTXGP result, lapping at 84.9 mph; (middle
) Roy Richardson was the sixth-fastest for
the day on the Brammo Enertia machine; (right
) the futuristic looking MotoCzysz E1pc was ridden by American Mark Miller.
Sidecar TT Race 2
So with the locals safely on their way home through crossing points created in the course, the sidecars lined up for their second outing after a long day of waiting. Nick Crowe and Mark Cox lead the field away on their Honda followed by Monday’s winner, Suzuki-powered Dave Molyneuex and Dan Sayle with former world champion Tim Reeves and Patrick Farrance third on their LCR outfit. The other former world champions Klaus Klaffenbock and Andrew Winkle were posted as nonstarters after their injuries sustained in the first race prevented them from making it to the line.
All looked good for a fast race in the evening sun, but the second Sidecar race of the 2009 Isle of Man TT was red flagged as some of the leading outfits were passing through Ramsey, approximately half way around the race. The Number 4 machine of John Holden was holding the lead from Dave Molyneux when the race was stopped.
Initial reports suggested an outfit was on fire and this was later confirmed as being the result of the Number One outfit of Nick Crowe and Mark Cox having crashed on the approach to Ballaugh. Later reports stated the pair had been airlifted to Noble's Hospital, and that the outfit was extensively fire damaged.
This delay soon prompted a cancellation of the evening practice session for the Senior TT to be run after the sidecars, which was the last chance the new Norton RSV had to qualify for Friday’s premier race. This was then followed by an announcement that the sidecar race had been abandoned with no rescheduling for Thursday. The Senior practice was also scrapped.
At the time of posting information has just been received that both Crowe and Cox have suffered extensive fractures but both are talking to medical staff and they are still being evaluated. Emerging witness reports suggest a rabbit or hare ran out in front of the outfit causing it to crash, resulting in debris being spread on the course, hence the red flag.
A full update on the incident will be available tomorrow!