Hutchinson tops Monday TT session

Ian Hutchinson in action during Monday evening's practice session (www.iomtt.com)

Ian Hutchinson in action during Monday evening's practice session (www.iomtt.com)

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Ian Hutchinson continued his fine form by setting the fastest time during Monday night’s evening session at the 2016 TT Races.

The Bingley Bullet recorded a speed of 129.964mph on the Tyco BMW two seconds quicker than Michael Dunlop, although the latter posted three laps over 129mph.

However, one of the most impressive feats of the night came from Bruce Anstey who, after one sighting lap on his Valvoline Racing/Padgetts Honda Fireblade, switched to the hugely-anticipated RCV213-V Honda MotoGP replica and recorded a speed of 127.071mph.

The evening saw the 1000cc machines take to the course for the first time and all of the leading competitors took advantage of the excellent conditions. First to complete a lap was Michael Rutter at 125.152mph swiftly followed by Hutchinson (124.914), Peter Hickman (122.324), James Hillier (123.490) and Gary Johnson (123.272).

Dean Harrison then went quickest at 125.404 but only for a short while as both Dunlop (127.395) and John McGuinness (126.285) went faster. Steve Mercer (124.881) and Ivan Lintin (123.823) were also going well on their Superstock machines.

Hutchinson, Hickman, Johnson, Dunlop and Harrison all pulled in as did Anstey who had a relatively slow lap at 117.828 but the Kiwi was soon back out, this time on the RCV213-V Moto GP replica machine. Ian Lougher was an early retirement on the Suter at Glen Darragh although the Welsh rider later completed a lap of 115.248 (19:38.571) on the two-stroke Suter Racing machine.

McGuinness, Rutter, Hillier and Mercer continued straight through for their second lap and Rutter was first to complete the lap at 127.031mph but McGuinness was faster, his speed of 128.871mph sending him to the top of the leaderboard. Hutchinson quickened his pace second time around to 126.470mph with Ramsey Rocket Conor Cummins not far behind at 125.905mph.

As the session wore on, the majority rof iders swapped between their Superbike and Superstock machines and Dunlop’s fourth lap on his Superbike saw him lap at 129.497mph but Hutchinson went quicker at 129.96mph. Harrison jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the Superstock class at 128.044mph but Anstey was quickest through the speedtrap at 193.4mph on the RCV. With his second lap being a hugely impressive 127.071mph, he went quicker still on his third lap with a speed of 127.071 (17:48.916).

Harrison topped the Superstock class with a speed of 128.044 mph, followed by Dunlop (126.726), Hickman (125.725), McGuinness (125.574), Steve Mercer (124.881) and Daniel Hegarty (124.104).

Having had a lengthy session on Saturday evening, not many riders opted to take out their Supersport machines and Harrison was again quickest, as he had been in Saturday’s opening session, with 124.461mph followed by Lee Johnston, who completed his first laps having broken down on Saturday, with 122.067mph and Mercer at 122.067mph.

The newcomers were also increasing their speeds steadily, Jochem van den Hoek lapping at 108.85mph, Alessandro Polita 108.831mph, Forrest Dunn 106.464mph and Mike Booth 105.135mph.

Karl Foster was reported to have sustained ankle and wrist injuries in an accident at the 32nd milestone and was taken by airmed to Noble’s Hospital.

SIDECARS

The Formula Two Sidecar class enjoyed their first qualifying session which followed on from the solo. The session got underway shortly after the scheduled 7.55pm start time in great conditions and John Holden/Andrew Winkle, who were reunited this year after Winkle’s enforced absence with injury last year, were quickly on the pace.

The Lancashire pair, who won their only TT to date in 2011, were quickly out of the blocks and opened up with a lap of 112.055 (20:12.158), the fastest of the night, which they followed up with a second lap of 111.97 which was the second fastest in the session.

Also going well were the father-and-son team of Ian and Carl Bell. Ian - who recorded his first and only TT win in 2003 and returned after an 11-year absence in 2014 - is clearly relishing his return to the Mountain Course, building on their near 113mph lap in 2015 with a pair of 111mph laps, the third and fourth fastest of the session.

They were the only two outfits to break the 110mph barrier with last year’s double winners, Ben and Tom Birchall, third quickest at 108.981mph. Alan Founds/Aki Aalto were also above the 108mph barrier with Tim Reeves/Patrick Farrance overcoming early problems to get in two laps, the quickest at 107.023mph.

Seventeen-time TT winner Dave Molyneux, with Dan Sayle back in the chair, were reported as an early retirement at Ramsey Hairpin.

Tonight (Tuesday’s) qualifying session is scheduled to get underway at 6.20pm.

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