Isle of Man: BMW rider Michael Dunlop joins TT legends with 11th victory in Senior race
June 6th 2014 – Michael Dunlop joined Steve Hislop and Phillip McCallen on 11 wins at the Isle of Man TT Races fueled by Monster Energy when he took Friday afternoon’s PokerStars Senior TT race, the second year in succession when he’s won 4 races in a week.
The BMW Motorrad rider was down in seventh at Glen Helen, the first timing point, on the opening lap but steadily moved through the leaders on the opening lap. He eventually took the win by exactly 14 seconds from Honda Racing’s Conor Cummins with the Tyco Suzuki of Guy Martin in third.
With conditions all around the Mountain Course remaining perfect throughout the 6-lap race, the second Tyco Suzuki ridden by William Dunlop held the lead in the early stages, ahead by 1.3 seconds at Glen Helen with Cummins and Martin in second and third from Dean Harrison, John McGuinness and James Hillier.
Michael Dunlop – “More important than anything today is that my brother William is okay after his crash. We have rivalry, and people like to push that story, but that man matters more to me than any racing. The Senior TT race is the only one I’ve not won before at the Isle of Man and it’s very special to have won it today. I’ve given BMW Motorrad three wins here and we’ve repeated their victory in the Senior TT in 1939. At the start of this fortnight people were saying I was mad to be here on an unproven bike. I think now nobody will doubt the BMW S 1000 RR. The whole package is fantastic and the team have been brilliant. For BMW Motorrad to have built a motorcycle that can come here for the first time, to survive six laps without missing a beat, and to win… that is amazing.”
William still led at Ramsey but Michael was beginning to make his move, closing the gap to just one second and by the end of the lap Michael was in front. His lap of 130.628mph gave him a 0.8s lead over Martin with Cummins, William Dunlop and Harrison in hot pursuit, just 3s covering the top five.
On the second lap, Dunlop and the BMW really began to make their mark on the race and with a new lap record, for the Senior race, of 131.668mph, he went 7.7s clear as he came into the pits for his first stop. William had edged out Martin for second as Cummins slipped back to fourth. Harrison remained in fifth as a slow starting Bruce Anstey moved up to sixth.
Lap three saw some major changes though and while Michael remained in the lead, Cummins and Martin moved up to second and third respectively as William Dunlop crashed at the Les Graham Memorial, the 28-year reported to have received a suspected broken leg and was taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital. Harrison was also out, retiring at Sulby.
The gap between Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins went up to 13s at Ramsey on the fourth lap, but by the pits and the second stop, it was down to 9.5s as Cummins was the quickest on the fourth lap at 130.499mph. Martin was 10s further back in third, with Dunlop having caught him on the road, as Anstey, Hillier and McGuinness now slotted into fourth to sixth.
At Glen Helen on the penultimate lap, just 7s separated Dunlop and Cummins with the former circulating on the road with Hillier, McGuinness and Martin also encountering heavy traffic. However, the Ballymoney rider fought his way to the front of the quartet and once there he was able to build a slightly more comfortable lead.
Conor Cummins – I’m chuffed with that. I knew it was going to be a fast pace so I thought I’d better pull my finger out from the start. I just chipped away and worked really hard for the full six laps. The bike was perfect and the pit stops were absolutely mega – I can’t fault the team. They have worked so hard for the whole two weeks and I want to thank them for that. It was a great race, I really enjoyed it and I’m just so happy to be back riding my bike at the front. Long may it continue!
By the end of the race, the margin was 14s as he swept to his 11th win of his relatively short TT career, with Cummins again justifying Honda’s faith in him in 2nd, 9.6s ahead of Martin who had to settle for third and his 15th TT podium.
Guy Martin: “The bike was just mint and the boys have done a great job again today. We rode a good race, which you can see by the lap times, but we have to take our hats off to Michael; he’s riding well this week and that’s why he has won four races. That’s probably the best Superbike set-up I’ve ever ridden around here, so yeah, we’ll have to come back next year and try again won’t we.”
Just like twelve months ago Anstey and Hillier battled all the way to the chequered flag, this time for fourth, and it was again the Kiwi who prevailed, this time by 1.4s. Meanwhile, McGuinness, sixth at the end of the opening lap, duly completed the race in the same position to end a difficult week with a solid finish.
Josh Brookes put behind the disappointment of Wednesday’s Supersport race, when he was knocked off by Lee Johnston at Creg ny Baa on the final lap, to finish in a strong seventh with Dan Kneen, Michael Rutter and David Johnson rounding out the top ten.
There was another sensational performance from newcomer Peter Hickman who not only took 11th place but also set the fastest ever lap by a first timer at the Mountain Course with a stunning lap of 129.104mph.
He was the first privateer home ahead of Ian Mackman (15th) but Ivan Lintin’s 16th place was enough to see him wrap up the TT Privateer’s Championship with 97 points overall.
John Ingram and Philip Crowe were reported off at Governors and Gooseneck respectively but both were reported as OK. Martin Jessop, also off at Governors, was taken by ambulance to Nobles hospital with a suspected broken collar bone, while Austrian Horst Saiger was conscious after an incident at Gardeners Lane and taken to Nobles with a leg injury.
William Dunlop, from his home in Ballymoney this morning: “I had been suffering a bit of arm-pump all week and I think with the extra tension with leading and then being in contention for the win made it a little worse. I could hardly feel the bars, but when you are getting P1 and P2 signals there’s no way you are going to back-off. I think I just ran into Graham Memorial with a little bit of throttle still-on and the rest; well… It’s just the small bone in my leg I’ve broken and I’m a little battered and bruised but I hope to be ready to ride in four weeks.”