Olie Linsdell kicked off the Classic TT bank holiday weekend programme in style on Saturday afternoon winning the four-lap Bennett’s 500cc race by more than two minutes.
The Bedfordshire ace was in dominant form on his 1968 CMM Paton as he secured an impressive flag-to-flag victory. The former Manx Grand Prix winner also clocked up a new lap record of 111.660mph as Giovanni Cabassi’s bike combined perfectly reliability and speed.
Many of Linsdell’s rivals didn’t have the former with Ramsey man Conor Cummins and John McGuinness among the first-lap retirements. Fellow TT stars Cameron Donald and Bruce Anstey had been among the top three in the race’s early stages but again both were forced out with mechanical problems on their second lap of the punishing Mountain Course.
With Linsdell building a healthy lead at the front, Jamie Coward, Chris Palmer and the fast-finishing William Dunlop were left to battle out for the remaining podium places. Adopted Manxman Palmer joined the list of retirements at Governor’s Bridge on lap three leaving Coward and Dunlop to jostle it out for second and third.
Coward initially held the advantage only for the Davies Motorsport Honda-mounted Dunlop to overhaul his rival on the last lap. The Northern Irish man eventually finished 24 seconds ahead of Coward who in turn was 16 seconds ahead of Ian Lougher on his last competitive outing on the Mountain Course.
Roy Richardson and Jamie Hillier completed the top six, with Michael Dunlop seventh. Island residents Dave Madsen-Mygdal and Allan Brew were eighth and ninth with Doug Snow top privateer in 10th.
The Classic racing concludes on Bank Holiday Monday with the Okell’s 350/250 race at 10.15am and the combined Formula 1, 2 and Formula Classic race at 2pm.