Michael Dunlop completed an impressive Superbike double at the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, winning his first Senior TT and taking his overall tally to 11 TT wins.
Dunlop, now the first man to win four races in a week for the second consecutive year, started slowly, only just holding on to a top five position through the first two checkpoints at Glen Helen and Ballaugh. It was the elder William Dunlop who held the early advantage, leading local hero Conor Cummins and team-mate Guy Martin.
As the lap progressed the BMW Motorrad of Michael Dunlop gradually picked up speed, reeling in the leaders and embarking in a thrilling battle with brother William, Cummins and Martin between the Bungalow and the Grandstand. Just 1.3 seconds separated the top four as they crossed the start line for the second time. Meanwhile, Dean Harrison joined the fray and by the time the leaders had made it through Glen Helen, Harrison had jumped ahead of Martin to take fourth position.
Michael Dunlop then got his head down and began to pull out ahead of brother William, holding a 6.5 second lead at the Bungalow. The top 5 remained unchanged up until the pitstops, with Cummins working his way up to second, ahead of Martin, William Dunlop and Harrison rounding out the top five. Upon entering the pits, Michael Dunlop broke the record for the fastest ever lap in a Senior TT at 131.668mph.
Michael Dunlop continued to pull ahead upon exiting the pits, although Cummins was hanging in, not allowing the Ballymoney rider to dominate in the same way as Saturday’s Superbike race. Dean Harrison was later missing at the Ramsey Hairpin on the third lap, eventually the news coming through that he had retired at Sulby.
The next of the top riders to disappear from the timing screens was William Dunlop, who failed to make it to the Bungalow on the third lap. It was then announced that Dunlop had come off at Graham’s and was conscious and stable, but with a suspected broken leg.
The top three would then remain unchanged for the remainder of the race, despite a slow second pitstop for Michael Dunlop, Cummins was unable to bridge the gap as he came home to take second ahead of Guy Martin.
“The first thing on my mind is William – I don’t give a shit about racing, as long as he’s OK,” said Dunlop, who joins Steve Hislop and Phil McCallen on 11 wins, after the race. “I’ve spoken to William’s girlfriend, he’s conscious, awake and he’s OK which is the main thing for me. The first lap wasn’t great, I struggled a bit but we just had to ride round and batter on. I knew we’d struggle on the pits, we lost a couple of seconds again so I just upped my game again. I just wanted to get a wee bit of a cushion, you don’t have to win by 50 seconds. At the end of the day I did what I had to do, I did my bit for BMW on Saturday, this win was for me, it was one I haven’t got before.”
“I knew it was going to be a really fast pace,” said second placed Cummins. “I knew I’d have to pull my finger out from the off. I got a good start just chipped away for the whole six laps. Can’t fault the boys [in the team], they’ve worked really hard the whole two weeks for me. It was a nice race, I really enjoyed it. I’m back at the front again, long may it continue.”
Another late charge from Bruce Anstey saw him claw his way back to fourth place after a slow start to the race, while James Hillier held on to round out the top five. John McGuinness fought through the pain of his wrist injury to take an impressive sixth place, Josh Brookes scored his best result in seventh, ahead of Dan Kneen and Michael Rutter.
Newcomer Peter Hickman, who finished eleventh, smashed Brookes’ 2013 fastest Newcomers record of 127.726mph with a blisteringly impressive lap of 129.104mph