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Sunday, June 5, 2011

McGuiness takes Superbike TT win

From the Isle of Man TT

John McGuinness won his 16th TT on Saturday when he took victory in the Dainese Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.

The Honda TT Legends rider overcame an early challenge from Bruce Anstey and a strong pit stop at the end of lap 2 saw him reassert himself. When the Kiwi went out at Quarry Bends, McGuiness was already 20 seconds clear of the field. With Guy Martin retiring on lap 5, McGuinness’ eventual winning margin was almost a minute over Cameron Donald, who came through to take second, some 10 seconds clear of Gary Johnson, who took third despite suffering a 30-second penalty for infringing the pit lane speed limit.

Saturday saw dry, sunny conditions all around the course although a strong breeze kept the riders on their toes over the Mountain and at the first checkpoint at Glen Helen on the first lap, McGuinness was leading by just over a second from Johnson, who was carrying over his practice form into the race. Anstey was only two tenths further back in third with Martin in fourth and James Hillier going brilliantly in fifth just ahead of Michael Dunlop and Dan Stewart.

McGuinness was putting in one of his customary fast first laps but Anstey was matching him all the way and at the end of the first lap only half a second separated the pair, both lapping comfortably over 130mph. Johnson and Martin also broke the 130mph barrier in third and fourth as Dunlop and Donald completed the top six, Hillier dropping back to ninth. There was disappointment though on the opening lap for both Michael Rutter and Simon Andrews, the duo retiring at Cruickshanks and Quarter Bridge respectively.

Anstey was really flying on the second lap and he overhauled McGuinness by Glen Helen turning his deficit into a 1.5s advantage. Johnson was a further four seconds back in third still ahead of Martin, Dunlop and Donald but at the head of the field Anstey was pressing ahead on the Padgetts Honda and he completed the lap at 131.378mph. His lead was only 0.9s though as McGuinness also broke the 131mph barrier and his lead unravelled due to a slightly sluggish pit stop and when they left the pits, it was the Morecambe man who was now some 12 seconds clear. Dunlop was also in trouble in the pits losing over two minutes.

The gap was still 12 seconds through Glen Helen but Anstey was soon reported as having stopped at Quarry Bends and Martin moved up into second ahead of Johnson albeit by less than half a second. Donald was now fifth with Keith Amor putting in a brave ride in sixth given the discomfort of his injured shoulder. Stewart, William Dunlop and Hillier were next with Conor Cummins riding superbly in 10th.

By two thirds race distance, McGuinness was controlling affairs from the front maintaining a near 20-second lead over Martin who now had some breathing space in second when Johnson was handed a 30-second penalty for exceeding the speed limit in pit lane after his second pit stop. Indeed, it was now Donald who was up to third while Cummins retired at Signpost.

There was drama on the fifth lap when Martin retired at Hillberry but, leading on the road, McGuinness was able to cruise home in his final lap, his final winning margin over Donald 56.9 seconds. Johnson lost the runner-up spot due to the pit lane infringement but he was still comfortable in third ahead of Amor who ensured it was four Hondas in the top four.

Michael Dunlop came through from his pit stop problems to secure fifth on the final lap just edging Stewart out by two seconds. William Dunlop enjoyed his best ever ride in the Superbike race to take seventh with Hillier, Adrian Archibald and Ian Mackman rounding out the top 10.

Klaus Klaffenbock and Daniel Sayle made it three wins in a row when they took victory in the opening Sure Sidecar 1 Race by 10 seconds from John Holden and Andy Winkle. The Austrian/Manx pairing took the lead at Glen Helen on the opening lap and were never headed, catching Holden on the road and circulating together in high speed formation. Lapping at just under 115mph, the pairing were well clear of the rest of the field with Conrad Harrison and Mike Aylott overhauling Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze on the final lap for third.

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