Michael Dunlop completed his hat-trick of Isle of Man TT victories in the second Supersport encounter of the week to take his grand total up to 10 TT triumphs.
Riding his own MD Racing Honda, Dunlop led from start to finish, gradually reeling in Bruce Anstey, who started ten seconds up the road from him, to win by 10.089 seconds after Anstey pulled to the side of Glencrutchery Road to allow Dunlop to take the chequered flag first in a great display of sportsmanship. William Dunlop completed the podium places aboard the Tyco Suzuki.
The victory, Dunlop’s third of the week across three categories – Superbike, Superstock and now Supersport, means that he now joins legendary names Ian Lougher, Stanley Woods, Rob Fisher and Giacomo Agostini on 10 wins.
The Dunlops and Anstey set the tone for the race right from the off, with the trio separated by just one second at Glen Helen, while Dean Harrison was just 0.1 seconds behind in fourth. However, the biggest surprise of the early stages of the race came in the form of privateer Ivan Lintin, who was holding fifth at the first checkpoint. Potential early contenders Ian Hutchinson and Conor Cummins both saw their races end on the first lap, retiring at Glen Darragh Road and the Highlander respectively.
As the leaders came through Ramsey for the first time, Michael Dunlop had pulled out a slight lead on Kiwi Anstey, who in turn held a small margin on William Dunlop. Harrison remained in fourth, with Lintin continuing to hold back Josh Brookes and Lee Johnston.
Dunlop’s opening lap of 126.256mph was enough to see him hold a 4.5 second lead over Bruce Anstey at the Grandstand, with the top four positions remaining as they were through Ramsey. Further back, Brookes had managed to pass Lintin, who was still ahead of big names such as Guy Martin, Keith Amor and James Hillier, with fellow privateer Russ Mountford rounding out the top ten.
The second lap saw Dunlop begin to reel Anstey in on the road and by Ramsey he was right up behind the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda, a position he would stay in for the remainder of the race. By the time the pair had completed their second laps, the top six had begun to stretch out, holding the same positions as the lap before.
Very little changed in the second half of the race with the top riders all holding relatively safe margins over each other, although a last lap incident at Creg ny Baa between Brookes and Johnston took both riders out of the race, neither were hurt.
Back at the front, as Anstey and Dunlop approached the Grandstand for the final time, Anstey slowed to allow the 25-year-old to take the chequered flag first for his 10th TT victory, with Anstey and William Dunlop completing the podium positions.
Harrison held on to fourth at the line, ahead of Hillier, Amor, Lintin – who was comfortably the highest placed privateer, Dan Kneen, Dan Stewart and Martin rounding out the top ten.
Dunlop’s victory means he now holds a 21 point lead over Anstey in the Joey Dunlop TT Championship, with Harrison a further 15 points back. Anstey must win the Senior TT on Friday to stand a chance of beating Dunlop to the crown. Meanwhile, Lintin’s second Privateer’s victory of the week has put him on 81 points at the top of the TT Privateer’s Championship, with only Mountford, who sits on 64 points, able to beat him to the top spot.