After the trials of tribulations of recent evenings, conditions were perfect for Friday’s final qualifying session of the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, and it proved to be a rapid night of action on the Mountain Course as Michael Dunlop threw down the gauntlet with a lap of 131.501mph, not only his personal best but also just 1.3s outside the outright lap record.
Gary Johnson set the pace on the opening lap on his Superstock bike and he was the only rider to break the 130mph barrier first time around with a lap of 130.207mph although Guy Martin wasn’t far behind on his Superbike with 129.992mph.
Second time around and Bruce Anstey went quickest at 130.642mph on his Superbike with John McGuinness lapping at 129.790, which saw him end up fourth overall. Dan Kneen slotted into a superb fifth place at 129.107, comfortably his best ever lap of the 37 and ¾-mile course while Michael Rutter placed sixth (128.883) with William Dunlop, Josh Brookes, James Hillier, Ian Hutchinson and Dean Harrison the other riders to lap in excess of 127mph.
However, Dunlop waited until the closing stages to really set the track alight as he ripped round the course at 131.501mph to end the week top of the Superbike leaderboard and surely heading into Saturday’s Dainese Superbike race as favourite. Anstey remained in second overall with Martin the third Superbike rider over 130mph with a lap of 130.102mph.
Johnson’s superb 130mph lap saw him top the Superstock class although Harrison was also flying on his Superstock Kawasaki with a speed of 128.662mph, which was his best ever lap of the course. Michael Dunlop went slightly quicker at 129.333 to place third with Hillier in fourth and Rutter putting in a late quick lap to go fifth.
With most riders opting to get out on their 1000cc machines, there were few quick laps in the Supersport class but Johnson had a busy evening with two laps on the Triumph, the quickest of which, 125.934, was the fastest of the week. William Dunlop (124.475) and Keith Amor (124.356) placed second and third respectively on the night although Michael Dunlop’s lap from Thursday, 124.530, means he ended the week second overall. There was a notable performance from Daley Mathison who moved up to 22nd fastest qualifier from an original start number of 81.
In the F2 Sidecar class Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance were fastest on the night at 113.422 closely followed by John Holden/Andy Winkle (113.039), Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott (112.333) and Tim Reeves/Gregory Cluze (111.651).
All eyes then switched to the SES TT Zero class as fans were treated to their first look at this year’s Electric bike class. The eagerly anticipated showdown between Mugen teammates Anstey and McGuinness was put on ice when Anstey pulled in at Quarterbridge leaving McGuinness to post a stunning first lap of 20:13.202 (111.904mph).
–From the Isle of Man TT