Bruce Anstey was the talk of TT 2014 last night as he recorded the first 130mph-plus lap of practice week.
The flying Kiwi clocked an impressive 130.860mph on the Valvoline Racing/Padgetts Honda.
He spent much of the second lap circulating with John McGuinness, who was second fastest on the night at 129.395mph while BMW Motorrad rider Michael Dunlop looked like he’d break the 130mph barrier until coasting to a halt at Governor’s Bridge when he ran out of fuel.
The session got underway at 6.23pm and, as with Monday night, the majority of riders opted for their Superbike machines, leaving the line in numerical order.
McGuinness and James Hillier were first away followed by Ian Hutchinson and Guy Martin then Anstey and Dunlop, Gary Johnson and William Dunlop with Michael Rutter and birthday boy Conor Cummins completing the top 10. Hillier was aboard his Superstock Kawasaki as were Lee Johnston and Daniel Kneen.
McGuinness was first to complete a lap at 127.578, followed by Anstey (128.630) and Dunlop (129.032) with Cummins and Rutter also over the 128mph mark. Martin and Johnson lapped at over 127mph while Hillier’s lap of 126.243mph was the evening’s fastest Superstock time.
The pace really quickened second time around though with Anstey, Dunlop and McGuinness in close formation and while most eyes were on the Northern Irishman, Anstey went to the top of the leaderboard with his near 131mph lap. Dunlop was delayed through the Grandstand and it shortly emerged that he had stopped at Governors Dip.
Martin went third quickest behind Anstey and McGuinness with a lap of 129.164mph with the top six completed by Dunlop (129.032), Rutter (128.728) and Cummins (128.719). William Dunlop and Johnson were the only other two riders to break the 127mph mark with Kneen and Hutchinson in the 125mph bracket.
Further back, impressive speeds came from James Cowton (122.246) and newcomer Peter Hickman who only just missed out on his first 120mph lap with a speed of 119.684mph while the American Buell lapped at an encouraging 118.794mph in the hands of Mark Miller. Meanwhile, Martin Jessopp (117.385), Alan Bonner (115.303) and Belgian Vick de Cooremeter (114.226), all newcomers this year, again proved they were getting to grips with the Mountain Course.
Hillier’s opening lap kept him at the top of the Superstock leaderboard for the entire night and he was followed by Michael Dunlop (125.840), Rutter (125.325), Anstey (125.086), McGuinness (124.529) and Kneen (124.111). Notable laps came from Russ Mountford (123.090) who ended up in 10th and Michael Sweeney who chalked up his first 120mph lap at 120.203mph. Austrian Horst Saiger came off at Governor’s during the session but was OK after been seen by a travelling medic.
The second part of the session was split between the Supersport and Lightweight machines, the latter getting their first action of the 2014 festival, and a late lap from Lee Johnston of 123.803mph saw him top the 600cc class.
Johnson and Rutter improved their speeds of the previous night on the Triumphs to place second and third, with William Dunlop the fourth rider to lap in excess of 123mph. Harrison, Martin, Brookes and Michael Dunlop completed the top eight.
In the Lightweight division Ivan Lintin occupied the top spot, the McKinstry Racing rider’s lap of 117.297mph almost 12 seconds quicker than Keith Amor’s speed of 115.595mph. Cowton was the only other rider above 115mph with Olie Linsdell impressing on the Paton in fourth. Previous Lightweight race winners Hillier and Ryan Farquhar completed the top six.
In the Formula Two sidecar class, which saw just one lap completed before the session was red flagged due to an incident at Kerrowmoar, John Holden/Andy Winkle showed there’ll be contenders come race day once more with a lap of 112.877mph, just under 10 seconds quicker than Ben and Tom Birchall. Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott placed third ahead of Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn, Frank Lelias/Paul Knapton and Carl Fenwick/Phil Knapton but Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance stopped on the opening lap, the duo pulling up to a halt at Moly’s own corner at the end of the Cronk-y-Voddy.
It was later reported that sidecar crew Nev Jones and Milan Vorel were the team involved in the accident at Kerrowmoar. Jones was reported to be OK but Vorel was taken by airmed to Noble’s where he was assessed for possible leg fractures.