Michael Dunlop won the Bennetts Lightweight TT race on Wednesday afternoon at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy. The Paton racer smashed both lap and race records and earned himself another TT win; his 18th one.
The eventful race witnessed some fierce racing throughout its course. Despite getting off the line to a slightly slow start, Dunlop found himself in the lead when early leader Ivan Lintin had to retire at Bedstead on lap two. With a new lap record of 197.546kph, he came home 14.6s ahead of second-placed Derek McGee and Michael Rutter in third. Dunlop beat the old race record by over a minute.
McGee led at Glen Helen on the opening lap with the help of a cracking pace set on his KMR Kawasaki. His lead over Lintin was just half a second. Dunlop was 1.6s behind in third with Stefano Bonetti, James Cowton and Rutter bringing up fourth, fifth and sixth positions. By Ballaugh, Lintin had edged ahead by 0.8s. By Ramsey, he was 2.9s clear of second-placed rider Dunlop who had left McGee 0.3s behind. Bonetti, Cowton and Rutter continued to fill fourth to sixth place positions.
Johnson had to retire at Sulby Bridge owing to problems with his KMR Kawasaki. A new lap record of 195.701kph gave Lintin a 5.7s lead over McGee who was inside the old lap record. Dunlop had again fallen behind in third as Bonetti, Cowton, and Rutter remained in fourth to sixth. Lintin still led at Glen Helen by six seconds the second time around but Dunlop had got back up into second with McGee now trailing in third by a second. Bonetti was over 25s adrift in fourth but Rutter now led Cowton by 0.1s to land three Patons in the top five.
At the end of the second lap, there was drama going into the pits as it was Dunlop who led with another new lap record of 196.753kph. Lintin went through Cronk ny Mona but retired at Bedstead clearing the second place for McGee, only four seconds behind Dunlop, with Cowton now in third. Rutter was up to fourth but was being harried by Peter Hickman and Bonetti as just 0.3s covered the trio. Daniel Cooper, Ian Lougher, Michael Sweeney and Joey Thompson brought up the top ten.
There was a change after the pit stop with McGee’s team refueling the bike in double time and he led Dunlop by 3.1s at Glen Helen on lap three. Further back the pecking order, Cowton went out at Crosby and Hickman made it two KMR Kawasaki’s in the top three as he passed Rutter.
Dunlop called on all his extra experience around the Mountain Course though and by Ramsey, he was back in the lead by 1.2s. However, some kickass riding by McGee saw him close the gap to just 0.5s at the Bungalow. Hickman had extended his advantage over Rutter to 10.6s and looked like had third place bagged. Going into the fourth and final lap and Dunlop had responded with the margin to McGee having crept out again to 1.6s. There was no denying the Ulsterman his 18th TT win and third of the week.
McGee was second on the podium with Rutter in third for his 17th TT podium. Hickman went out on Union Hills before the race was over, enabling Bonetti and Thompson round out the top five. The order brought a total of four Patons in the top five. Michael Sweeney, Ian Lougher, Adam McLean, Julian Trummer and Dominic Herbertson completed the top ten.
Indeed, this was one of the many spectacular races that are regularly witnessed at the IOMTT. Stay tuned for more action from the Isle!