Michael Dunlop produced another scintillating performance round the Mountain Course to win the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Classic TT on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
Despite suffering clutch problems throughout the four-lap race, the Ballymoney man clinched victory by just shy of a minute from impressive Manx pair Conor Cummins and Ryan Kneen. The latter made a tense finish to the race, coasting over the line after running out of fuel at Governor’s Dip on the last lap.
Dunlop, who clinched four TT wins earlier this year, belied the mechanical problems with his Team Classic Suzuki to post a flying first lap of 123.678mph. This gave him an advantage of 33 seconds over Cummins and Gary Johnson at the end of the first circuit round the Mountain Course.
Dunlop gradually increased his lead at the front, while Steve Mercer took over in third as Johnson slipped back eventually retiring at Crosby on lap three.
With Dunlop and fellow Suzuki man Cummins well clear at the front, Mercer and Kneen battled it out for the remaining podium place, the latter slotting into third on his Dave Molyneux Racing-backed 750 Yamaha midway through the third lap.
As Mercer pushed to reclaim third, he slipped out at Ramsey Hairpin on the last lap as Dunlop nursed the Suzuki home 59.929 seconds head of Ramsey man Cummins. Despite his late drama, Kneen finished third just over a minute behind Cummins, but more importantly 1 minute 55 seconds ahead of Crosby’s John Barton.
American Mark Miller completed the top five with Russ Mountford sixth and Sulby’s Dan Sayle seventh.
Castletown’s Chris Palmer made it two wins in the day taking victory in the concurrently run Formula 2 race. Palmer enjoyed a race-long battle with James Cowton, but eventually brought home his Rob Brew Racing Yamaha 10 seconds ahead of his rival. Third place went to Philip McGurk who was a further minute and 13 seconds behind Cowton.
There was a fantastic finish to the Formula Classic race, Dean Harrison overcame last-lap power and fuel tank problems to pip Gavin Lupton to the win by just 0.174 seconds. Peel resident Chris McGahan came home third, 20 seconds down on the leading duo.
More on all three Classic races in Thursday’s Manx Independent. The Manx Grand Prix programme continues on Wednesday with the Newcomers race at 10.15am and the Junior MGP at 1.30pm.