Competitors enjoyed the best conditions of the week so far for the third qualifying session of the Isle of Man Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts, which was reflected in the significant jump in lap times.
There was no doubt about the rider that dominated the session – New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey. The ‘flying kiwi’ followed up a session topping Superbike lap with the fastest ever Mountain Course Lightweight lap – 118.812 (19:03.218) - inside his own lap record of 118.744mph set in last year’s corresponding race, on the Padgetts Motorcycles.com 250 Honda.
The lap, albeit an unofficial lap record as the Isle of Man record books only feature racing laps, was all the remarkable as it was set from a standing start and the Kiwi was estimated to be close to a 120pmh average on his second lap before encountering traffic.
The session got underway on time at 6.20pm and Australian David Johnson, as he will in Monday’s Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Race, led away from the Glencrutchery Road start line on the Team York Suzuki Superbike machine.
But it was the man who followed him off the line – Bruce Anstey – riding the Padgetts Motorcycles.com V4 two stroke Yamaha who again set the pace with a Superbike session topping 124.888mph while pre-race favourite Michael Dunlop, who has yet to complete a lap on the Team Classic Suzuki, again retired at Ballacraine on his opening lap of the session as he had done the previous evening.
Dunlop’s Team Classic Suzuki teammate Lee Johnston was reported as another retirement on the opening lap at Kirk Michael where Jamie Coward joined him on his opening lap on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki.
Anstey pulled in at the end of his opening Superbike lap, which was merely a precursor to his stunning Lightweight lap, which set the meeting alight, but Dean Harrison with a 123.288mph lap on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki and David Johnson (121.86) on the Team York Suzuki were also on the pace. Gary Johnson, Horst Saiger and Dan Kneen all posted their fastest laps of the week while Josh Brookes was also moving his Rotary Norton through the field, posting a 118.59mph which was the eighth fastest lap in the class on the night.
Dunlop was able to get back to the Grandstand promptly after his earlier retirement and managed to get out on his Turner Racing Yamaha before the end of the combined Superbike/ Lightweight session, clocking a lap of 112.13 but Dan Sayle (115.56) on the Steelcote Solutions Yamaha, Michael Rutter (112.87) on the Red Fox Grinta Racing Ducati, Ivan Lintin (112.69) John Chapman Racing Honda and Ian Lougher on the Laylaw Racing Yamaha (112.46) were all quicker than the Northern Ireland rider on their 250’s.
In the Senior class, which got underway at 7.10pm, Josh Brookes on the Team Winfield Paton was the clear leader on the night with the two fastest laps – his quickest at 109.509mph was over 40 seconds faster than second placed man in the session William Dunlop (105.858) riding the Davies Motorsport Honda. Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Seeley was a further 5 seconds behind Dunlop with Maria Costello and Bill Swallow – both riding Patons – completing the top five on the night.
In the concurrent Junior class Alan Oversby on the Davies Motorsport Honda posted the first 100mph Junior Classic TT lap of the meeting to top the qualifying board from Lee Johnston ((99.612) on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta.
Russell Roebury was reported to be unhurt after sliding off at the Gooseneck in the Junior session as was Dave Moffitt following his accident at the Creg Ny Baa.