Valvoline Padgett’s Honda’s Bruce Anstey has taken his first ever big-bike TT win at the Isle of Man today, beating PBM’s Ian Hutchinson by 10.977s in the RST Superbike outing after a race-long scrap while James Hillier completed the podium.
The New Zealander has now notched up ten victories after taking the lead from Hutchinson in the pits at the end of lap four and set a 131.797 lap on lap six, slowly extending his lead as Michael Dunlop tried to close down the leaders in the last two laps.
“I can’t believe it, I’ve been waiting for a Superbike win for ever so to finally have one is amazing. I didn’t have that many pit boards but knew it was quite close between myself and Hutchy so I gave it everything I had,” said Anstey, speaking after the race.
“I caught a few backmarkers in places but nothing too bad and I was able to settle back down pretty quickly and bring the bike home. I’ve won 250 races, 600 races, Superstock and Production ones and a Superbike win is the one I’ve wanted. The bike ran perfectly and the whole team’s behind me so it feels fantastic.”
Dunlop lost 23s in the two pit stops which would have meant the difference between third place and the win but the Irishman didn’t complete his final lap to claim third spot, going down at The Nook but he has since returned to the grandstand with a limp
Hutchinson, who set the fastest lap in practice, took the lead at the end of lap one after Hillier and Anstey had swapped places twice and the PBM Kawasaki man opened his account with a 130.959 lap, crossing the line with a 1.281s advantage over Anstey with Hiller a further 0.766s further back.
Guy Martin only made it as far as Glen Loch and retired his Tyco BMW while Keith Amor pitted on lap one with a loose footpeg but went back out and used the race as more practice.
At Glen Helen on lap two, Hutchy was 1.610 ahead of Hillier with Anstey third, Michael Dunlop fourth and John McGuinness fifth, 4.137s down on his former team-mate as Hutchinson dropped the hammer to get to Ramsey with a 2.749s advantage and a 194mph top speed at Sulby.
His lead over Hillier was 4.299s at the Bungalow and by the time they got to the Grandstand, Anstey had reclaimed second place with a difference of 4.488 while Hillier was a further 1.673s behind.
After the first pitstops, where Dunlop lost 14s, Hutchinson had a 5.189s lead at Glen Helen which had increased by three-quaters of a second at Ballaugh Bridge but then Anstey really got into his stride and the gap was starting to come down as they commenced lap four.
As Anstey cut the gap to just 2.653s at Ballaugh on lap four, Conor Cumins retired his works Honda at Kirk Michael. At the Bunglow on lap four, Hutchinson’s lead was just 1.344s and just 0.207s at Cronk-ny-Monda.
Anstey left the pits on lap five with a one-second lead which he built to five seconds as he reached the Grandstand for the penultimate time. Dunlop, meanwhile, was starting his charge and had reduced his disadvantage to 18s at Ramsey Hairpin but it came to nought as he didn’t make it to the line.
McGuinness finished in fourth, 13s behind Hillier.William Dunlop ended the day in fifth place ahead of Michael Rutter with local man Dan Kneen fighting his way through to seventh on the other Padgett’s Valvoline Honda.
Last year’s fastest newcomer Peter Hickman finished in eighth, with Lee Johnston and David Johnson rounding out the top ten GBmoto Kawasaki’s Gary Johnson crashed at Guthrie’s but was ok.
Andy Lawson was taken by airmed to Nobles with neck and arm injuries after an accident at Guthries while Scott Wilson, who was the other rider involved in the accident at the Nook, was also taken by airmed to Nobles and was reported to have a broken clavicle.