Bruce Anstey took the first superbike victory of his Isle of Man TT career as racing finally got underway on Sunday afternoon. The New Zealander came out on top in a race-long tussle with Ian Hutchinson to claim his tenth TT success, but the first on superbike machinery.
Hutchinson got off to a blistering start, setting the pace in each of the first three laps to open up a 4.8 second lead, but the tide began to turn on lap four as Anstey circulated at 131.333mph to virtually wipe out the PBM rider’s advantage by the time the second pit stops arrived.
Quick pit work from the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts crew saw Anstey emerge from his second stop with the overall lead and a phenomenal fifth lap saw him out of reach heading into the final tour, 5.6s to the good over Hutchinson’s Kawasaki.
With victory out of the question, Hutchinson now had a fight on his hands to maintain second spot with Michael Dunlop just five seconds adrift having matched the pace of Anstey through the middle phase of the race. The battle was settled in unfortunate circumstances though on the last lap with Dunlop making contact with a backmarker and crashing out at the Nook, bringing out the red flags.
Both riders escaped serious injury but Dunlop lost the final podium position to James Hillier with John McGuinness taking fourth ahead of William Dunlop and Michael Rutter. Dan Kneen was seventh on the second Valvoline Padgetts Honda with Peter Hickman, Lee Johnston and David Johnson rounding out the top ten.
Gary Johnson missed out on a probable top six finish after crashing at Guthries but Guy Martin’s race didn’t even last a single lap with his BMW grounding to a halt at Ballagarey.