Anstey makes Mountain Course return

By Sports desk   |   Sports reporter   |
Tuesday 20th August 2019 8:57 am
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Bruce Anstey in action at the Gooseneck (Photo: Peter Callister) ()

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After the frustrations of Saturday’s truncated session, the 2019 Classic TT Races roared into life on Monday evening.

The headlines were made by two established TT stars: Dean Harrison who picked up where he left off in June when he won the Dunlop Senior TT, with the fastest lap of the evening on his Silicone Engineering Classic Superbike.

Also, Bruce Anstey who put a two-year absence with illness behind him with the fastest lap in the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT class.

The Superbikes and Lightweight machines were first out on the Mountain Course. Rain had been reported earlier in the evening, but the cautionary lack of adhesion flags didn’t seem to dampen spirits or lap speeds.

Harrison’s standing start opening lap of the meeting (123.42mph) topped the board on the night before the Bradford rider came in at the end of his opening lap, pointing at a loose exhaust.

Harrison switched machines and headed straight out on his Lightweight bike – the Laylaw Racing Yamaha - and promptly clocked a lap of 114.28mph, which was second only to Anstey, before coming in with a quickshifter issue.

After the session Harrison talked about the challenge of switching from his BSB Superbike: ‘I’ve come straight from Cadwell and BSB to the Classic TT. The ZXR isn’t such a big jump but riding the 250 is chalk and cheese.

‘I’ve not got much experience of the two-stroke but you’ve got to respect the little thing because it will bite you.’

Lichtenstein-based rider Horst Saiger clocked an average speed of 118mph on his opening lap and then improved this to 122.87mph, the second fastest on the night.

Derek Shiels and Jamie Coward both posted 118mph+ opening laps, with Coward improving to 120.70 which put him third on the overall Superbike leaderboard.

Early retirements on the opening lap included Paul Jordan on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki who stopped at Ballacrye and Lee Johnston on his Lightweight Binch Racing Yamaha at Douglas Road Corner, while Gary Johnson (Team York Suzuki) retired on his second lap of the Superbike session at Quarterbridge.

Anstey put a two-year Mountain Course absence behind him and blasted to an opening lap of 110.84 on the Padgetts Yamaha, while Daniel Sayle on the John Chapman Racing Honda showed that he had recovered from injuries sustained at last year’s Classic TT with an opening lap of 109.90mph.

Ten-time TT Race winner Ian Lougher also showed his hand with an opening lap of 109.37mph which he improved to 112mph on his second lap, while Harrison’s opening lap of 114.28mph put him at the top of the Lightweight leaderboard.

But Anstey was not to be overshadowed on his comeback and promptly set 116.28mph on his second lap.

After the lap, the popular Kiwi: ‘It was great to get out and on the second lap things clicked - it felt like normal and as though I’d never been away.”

Back in the paddock, an elated Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles team boss Clive Padgett said: ‘I’m just over the moon. We said to Bruce before the lap if you’re not feeling it we’ll pick you up at Ballacraine.

‘He’s loving life - it’s incredible. He was smiling from the off and all the fans are so pleased to see him back and we’ve had so many great comments.’

The Junior and Senior machines were away shortly after 7pm with Team Winfield rider John McGuinness on the twin-cylinder Paton and Ripley Land Racing’s Michael Rutter on the single-cylinder Matchless jostling for position alongside each other on the start line.

However, shortly after the second session began, the session was red-flagged following an incident at the Black Hut. The rider concerned was Mark Herbertson who was taken by airmed to Noble’s Hospital where his condition was described as stable and he is awaiting surgery on a leg injury.

Riders were brought back to the Grandstand in course direction under the direction of travelling marshals.

With the lost time and light fading at the Grandstand, the second session for Senior and Junior machines and the scheduled Newcomers session was cancelled.

Roads are due to close today (Tuesday) at 6pm at the full schedule is as follows: 6pm - All roads closed around the TT Mountain Course6.20-7.10pm - Classic TT Junior/Senior and MGP Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight/Newcomers B7.15-8pm - Classic TT Lightweight/Superbike and MGP Senior/Junior/Newcomers A9pm - All roads open.

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