Ian Hutchinson won his 15th Isle of Man TT after he took victory in Sunday’s RST Superbike race.
Hutchy, who is now fourth in the list of all-time winners, brought home his Tyco BMW only 5.070 seconds ahead of first-time podium finisher Peter Hickman after six thrilling laps.
Dean Harrison, who was one of four different riders to top the corrected time charts during the contest, was third on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. James Hillier, Manxman Dan Kneen and Michael Rutter completed the top six.
After the win, which owed much to two rapid pit stops by the Tyco team, Hutchy said: ’It was one of the strangest race’s I’ve been involved in.
’Initially I didn’t think I had the bike to win it, but somehow we have!
’We worked a lot on pit stops after last year and it’s paid off.’
They say good things come to those who wait and after a qualifying week heavily disrupted by the weather the opening race of this year’s festival didn’t disappoint.
The opening lap alone had three different leaders, Michael Dunlop topping the lap charts as he passed the Grandstand at the end of the opening circuit thanks to a lap of 131.135mph.
However, Dunlop was soon to join Guy Martin on the sidelines. Martin came off the new Honda Fireblade at Doran’s on the first lap, Dunlop pulling up the Bennetts Suzuki at Handley’s at the end of the Cronk-y-Voddy straight a lap later.
Harrison took to the top of the charts, but Hutchinson soon began chipping away at the Bradford man’s 7.537-second lead and had edged ahead by the end of the third lap.
Harrison briefly battled back up to first at the start of lap four, but Hutchy had regained the lead by the timing point at Ramsey on the same lap.
Hickman was also putting in a charge and had overhauled Harrison into second, 4.068s behind Hutchy at the Grandstand on lap four.
Hillier then propelled himself into the mix, a cracking first sector to Glen Helen putting him into second behind Hutchy.
Hickman hit back and was back up to second by the end of the penultimate lap.
Hillier remained third with Harrison a couple of second further back in fourth.
Hutchy’s lead fell to only 1.644s at Ramsey on the last lap as he got caught up in lower starters.
However, he managed to get clear over the Mountain to take the win as Harrison produced a fast final lap to overhaul Hillier for the last podium place.
Pit stops, in one way or another, hindered the hopes of local duo Dan Kneen and Conor Cummins.
Kneen was hit with a 30-second penalty for speeding on his exit from his pit stop at end of lap two, while Cummins retired in the pits at the end of lap four after problems putting his rear wheel back on the Padgetts Honda.
Full report in issue two of TT News on sale Monday.