Tuesday evening brough us more, warm and sunny weather. There was a large crowd gathered at Ballaugh Bridge for the Carole Nash Supertwin Race 1. Michael Dunlop started as favourite; but there was much interest in how Peter Hickman would fare on a bike that had completed just one lap of practice and was powered by a borrowed engine.
At Glen Helen, it was Michael Dunlop who led on his SC Project Paton. Jamie Coward on the Steadplan Kawasaki was second, 4.5s down on Dunlop; with Mike Browne third on the Burrows RH Racing Paton. Peter Hickman (PHR Performance Yamaha) held fourth; Josh Brookes (Dafabet Kawasaki) was fifth and Stefano Bonetti (ILR Paton) was sixth.
Dominic Herberston was the first rider to reach Ballaugh; he was followed by Michael Rutter (Batham’s Yamaha) who produced his normal stylish jump over the bridge. Jamie Coward was next; closely followed by Paul Jordan (Prez Kawasaki) who had started 10s before him. Dunlop was next and he gave us his usual front wheel landing. Josh Brookes and Pierre-Yves Bian (VAS Paton) gave us low flat jumps; Peter Hickman gave a nice jump with perfect rear wheel landing. The clocks showed that Dunlop led by 9.1s from Coward with Browne third. Hickman, Brookes and Rutter completed the top 6.
Dunlop pulled away from the chasers and led by 11.6s at the Bungalow. As he came into the pits for the mandatory stop, his lead was 14.43s, after a lap at 121.229mph. Coward lapped at 119.697mph and Browne in third at 119.438mph. Hickman, Brookes and Rutter filled out the top 6. Hickman lost 7s in the pits and Rutter 14s; as his machine refused to restart. The leader board at Glen Helen showed Dunlop with a 19.4s lead over Coward; who was just 0.5s ahead of Browne. Hickman, Brookes and Bian completed the board.
Dunlop was first on the road at Ballaugh; Coward next; both gave us front wheel landings. Best action of the lap came when Hickman arrived with Bian. They jumped in tandem; Hickman gave us the higher leap and they then powered away through the village inches apart. Dunlop added to his lead as the lap progressed; but at the Bungalow it was Browne who held second place due to a rapid climb of the mountain.
As the final lap started Dunlop had a comfortable lead of 22s over Browne; so, no need for lap record pace. Browne was now 2.1s ahead of Coward; Hickman, Brookes and Bian completed the top 6. At Glen Helen; Michael led by 25.93s; whilst Browne was only 1.22s ahead of Coward. Dunlop gave a low flat jump; it was impressive as powered away almost brushing his shoulder on the bus stop wall. Hickman and Brookes gained the most style marks for their high jumps and perfect landings.
Starting the mountain climb, Dunlop could afford to go into cruise mode; he led by 30.66s from Browne. Coward was giving it everything and was just 1.22s behind Browne. Despite easing off in the last few miles; Michael Dunlop set the fastest lap of the race at 121.905mph to win by 26.783s at a race average of 120.505mph. Browne’s final lap at 121.374mph enabled him to keep Coward at bay; the margin just 2.237s. Coward’s final lap of 121.362mph was his best of the race; his podium finish richly deserved. Hickman took fourth; Brookes fifth; both lapped at over 120mph; with Bian taking a deserved sixth after a very fine ride.
Dominic Herbertson, Michael Rutter, Barry Furber (superb effort) and Rob Hodson completed the top 10. Michael Evans was best of the locals in 11th; debut boys Paul Cassidy and Jamie Cringle were 20th and 22nd respectively.
The race has now been overshadowed by the sad news that popular Spanish rider Raul Torras Martinez lost his life in an accident at Alpine Cottage during the race. We send our condolences to his family and friends; he will be very much missed. May he rest in peace.