An emotional Michael Dunlop admitted after winning Thursday’s Lightweight TT race that he wasn’t sure if he’d stand on the top of a TT podium again after both a difficult fortnight on the island and a difficult last 12 months.
Riding the SC Corse Paton, Dunlop got the better of Jamie Coward by just 1.299s at the end of the two laps to claim his 19th TT victory and 50th for the Dunlop family.
“I’ve really struggled this week and I didn’t think I’d get to stand on the top of a TT podium again. It’s been a hard year and it’s been hard to come back racing so it’s nice to be back,” he admitted afterwards.
When the 30-year old led by almost three seconds at Glen Helen on the opening lap, and by four seconds at Ramsey, the race already looked a formality but Coward had other ideas and with less than a second between the duo at the end of the lap, it set up a thrilling finale.
The Ulsterman had to call upon all his skill and experience to see off the challenge of Coward but with a lap of 122.746mph which was only three hundredths of a second outside his own year-old lap record, he got the job done.
Coming out of Ramsey on the first lap, I caught the two Nortons and it took me a while to get by while the bike was also struggling a bit to pull up the Mountain. Jamie caught me up and it was nip and tuck all the way after that so I just rode as best as I could on the last lap.
“It was the hardest I’ve ridden all week and it was a hot pace with the bike moving around quite a lot so I’m not sure how much faster the Twins can go.
It’s good to get another win though and also get the 50th TT win for the Dunlop family around here. I haven’t been able to do the family name justice this week but I got back into the groove in the race and it’s nice to get back to back wins on the Paton.”