The BMW Motorrad rider was down in seventh at Glen Helen, the first timing point, on the opening lap but steadily moved through the leaders. He eventually took the win by exactly 14 seconds from Honda Racing’s Conor Cummins with the Tyco Suzuki of Guy Martin in third.
With conditions all around the Mountain Course remaining perfect throughout the 6-lap race, the second Tyco Suzuki ridden by William Dunlop held the lead in the early stages, ahead by 1.3 seconds at Glen Helen with Cummins and Martin in second and third from Dean Harrison, John McGuinness and James Hillier.
William still led at Ramsey but Michael was beginning to make his move, closing the gap to just one second and by the end of the lap Michael was in front. His lap of 130.628mph gave him a 0.8s lead over Martin with Cummins, William Dunlop and Harrison in hot pursuit, just 3s covering the top five.
On the second lap, Dunlop and the BMW really began to make their mark on the race and with a new lap record, for the Senior race, of 131.668mph, he went 7.7s clear as he came into the pits for his first stop. William had edged out Martin for second as Cummins slipped back to fourth. Harrison remained in fifth as a slow starting Bruce Anstey moved up to sixth.
Lap three saw some major changes though and while Michael remained in the lead, Cummins and Martin moved up to second and third respectively as William Dunlop crashed at the Les Graham Memorial, the 28-year reported to have received a suspected broken leg and was taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital. Harrison was also out, retiring at Sulby.
The gap between Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins went up to 13s at Ramsey on the fourth lap, but by the pits and the second stop, it was down to 9.5s as Cummins was the quickest on the fourth lap at 130.499mph. Martin was 10s further back in third, with Dunlop having caught him on the road, as Anstey, Hillier and McGuinness now slotted into fourth to sixth.
At Glen Helen on the penultimate lap, just 7s separated Dunlop and Cummins with the former circulating on the road with Hillier, McGuinness and Martin also encountering heavy traffic. However, the Ballymoney rider fought his way to the front of the quartet and once there he was able to build a slightly more comfortable lead.
By the end of the race, the margin was 14s as he swept to his 11th win of his relatively short TT career, with Cummins again justifying Honda’s faith in him in second, 9.6s ahead of Martin who had to settle for third and his 15th TT podium.
Just like 12 months ago Anstey and Hillier battled all the way to the chequered flag, this time for fourth, and it was again the Kiwi who prevailed, this time by 1.4s. Meanwhile, McGuinness, sixth at the end of the opening lap, duly completed the race in the same position to end a difficult week with a solid finish.
Josh Brookes put behind the disappointment of Wednesday’s Supersport race, when he was knocked off by Lee Johnston at Creg ny Baa on the final lap, to finish in a strong seventh with Dan Kneen, Michael Rutter and David Johnson rounding out the top 10.
There was another sensational performance from newcomer Peter Hickman, who not only took 11th place but also set the fastest ever lap by a first timer at the Mountain Course with a stunning lap of 129.104mph.
Dean Harrison claimed his first Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy win when he took Friday morning’s 3-lap Bikenation Lightweight race. Held in perfect conditions, the RC Express Racing by MSS Performance rider led from start to finish and ran out victor by 14.6s with last year’s winner James Hillier in second and another youngster, James Cowton, in third.
With beautiful sunny weather bathing the island, Harrison grabbed the early lead at Glen Helen on the opening lap, his advantage over Hillier just half a second as Cowton slotted into third ahead of Jamie Hamilton, Olie Linsdell and Keith Amor. There was disappointment though for Ivan Lintin, the fastest qualifier, as he only got as far as Union Mills before retiring.
As the lap progressed, the gap between the front two was increasing all the time and with a first lap speed of 117.897mph, Harrison already had a comprehensive lead of almost 10 seconds. Hillier had extended his gap to Cowton too, the margin now 8.4s, as Amor, Hamilton and Linsdell continued to hold onto their top six places but another pre-race favourite Lee Johnston was another early retiree.
The majority of riders opted to pit at the end of the first lap but one man who didn’t was double Manx GP winner Michael Russell and the leaderboard took on a different look through Glen Helen on lap two. Harrison still led Hillier by 10 seconds but Russell was now up to third, just two seconds behind Hillier but only half a second clear of Cowton.
By Glen Helen on the third and final lap, Harrison’s lead had now risen to 18 seconds although Cowton was only four seconds adrift of the 2013 race winner. Amor, Hamilton and Linsdell remained in fourth, fifth and sixth as Harrison, Amor and Hamilton circulated in close formation.
The Bradford rider was able to control the race in the closing stages and he took the win by 14.6s to emulate the feat of his dad Conrad in Saturday’s opening F2 Sidecar race, the first time a father and son have taken wins in the same week.
Hillier was secure in second and took his third podium in the class in as many years, with 2012 Newcomers Manx GP winner Cowton having a superb ride into third. Amor, Hamilton and Linsdell had no dramas on the final lap and filled out the top six.
Senior TT Race Results (top 15)
Pos No. Rider Machine/Entrant Time Speed Subclass Replica
1 6 Michael Dunlop BMW / BMW/Hawk Racing 01:45:33.291 128.680 Silver
2 10 Conor Cummins Honda / Honda Racing 01:45:47.291 128.396 Silver
3 4 Guy Martin Suzuki / Tyco Suzuki 01:45:56.962 128.201 Silver
4 5 Bruce Anstey Honda / Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Moto 01:46:20.814 127.722 Silver
5 2 James Hillier Kawasaki / Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki 01:46:22.262 127.693 Silver
6 1 John McGuinness Honda / Honda Racing 01:46:38.179 127.375 Silver
7 14 Joshua Brookes Yamaha / Milwaukee Yamaha 01:46:43.877 127.262 Silver
8 17 Dan Kneen Suzuki / Cookstown B.E.Racing 01:47:28.519 126.381 Silver
9 9 Michael Rutter BMW / Bathams Prize Winning Ales 01:47:34.561 126.262 Silver
10 16 David Johnson Kawasaki / Lloyd and Jones PR Kawasaki 01:48:11.127 125.551 Silver
11 60 Peter Hickman* BMW / Ice Valley by Motorsave Trade 01:48:19.976 125.380 Silver
12 11 Dan Stewart Honda / SMT / WILCOCK Racing 01:48:33.673 125.117 Silver
13 3 Ian Hutchinson Yamaha / Milwaukee Yamaha 01:50:04.848 123.389 Silver
14 27 Daniel Cooper Kawasaki / Tsingtao WK HMQ 01:50:59.232 122.382 Bronze
15 25 Ian Mackman Suzuki / InFront Motorcycles 01:51:13.305 122.124 Bronze
--From the Isle of Man TT