Senior race - Grand finale of TT 2016
Rounding out Isle of Man TT week was the Senior race, the blue ribbon event for most of the teams and riders. Run over six laps on Superbike spec machinery, an enthralling race is guaranteed. Foggy conditions saw the Senior race being pushed back several hours – prolonging the nervous wait of the racers and spectators. BMW were once again the hot favourites for the race after Michael Dunlop (Hawk Racing) won the opening Superbike race and Ian Hutchinson (TAS Racing Tyco BMW) took the Superstock honours earlier in the week.
Starting order for the Senior TT
1. John McGuinness
2.. Bruce Anstey
3. James Hillier
4. Ian Hutchinson
5. Peter Hickman
6. Michael Dunlop
7. Gary Johnson
8. William Dunlop
9. Michael Rutter
10. Conor Cummins
13. Lee Johnston
18. Martin Jessopp
Ian Hutchinson leading John McGuinness
All riders got off to a flying start, most notably – and not surprisingly Michael Dunlop took an early lead over fellow BMW rider Ian Hutchinson. Dunlop’s lap time, from a standing start was a 133.256mph which gave him a lead of 2.8 seconds. Hutchy had a healthy 8 second lead over third placed man Peter Hickman on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Lee Johnston also on a BMW slotted into fifth behind Honda’s Bruce Anstey with Superstock podium finisher Dean Harrison holding sixth place.
Lap two saw Hutchy lead the way on the roads but it was not enough to close down the gap to the leading BMW of Michael Dunlop – who set a record breaking 133.962 mph lap before coming into pit for more fuel. On entering the pits the gap between first and second was 9.2 seconds. Further behind, Anstey aboard the RC213V-S, moved up to third following a retirement from Hickman and fourth place was occupied by John McGuinness who had been down in ninth after the first lap. Dean Harrison was in fifth and East Coast Racing’s rider Lee Johnston took sixth.
Michael Dunlop on his way to Senior TT victory
Halfway through the race, 11.2 seconds separated Dunlop from Hutchy. The second wave of pit stops came after lap four with Hutchy having reduced the gap to 10.6 seconds. It was then a battle of pit crews as rear wheels got changed and more fuel put in – and it was here that Dunlop gained five seconds over Hutchy. Huthcy, McGuinness and Dunlop were all now in line on the road as they entered the final third of the race towards the chequered flag.
Dunlop was then able to pull even more of a gap, cementing his lead position, eventually taking the chequered flag with 31.4 seconds over Hutchy. Hutchy was a comfortable 31 seconds ahead of John McGuinness who took the final podium spot. Michael Rutter on the Bathams SMT Racing BMW finished in seventh place with Lee Johnston on the East Coast Racing BMW in eighth. British Superbike rider Martin Jessopp finished in 12th and Sam West kept up his string of good results to finish in 16th.
Ian Hutchinson also took home the riders trophy for TT 2016. A second place in Superbike, two Supersport wins, a Superstock win and a second in the Senior was more than enough to secure the Joey Dunlop TT Championship.
Leading all-time solo TT winners
Joey Dunlop 26
John McGuinness 23
Mike Hailwood 14
Ian Hutchinson 14
Michael Dunlop 13