Bruce Anstey and Dean Harrison kicked off their Classic TT efforts last night – taking the fastest laps in the Lightweight and Superbike classes respectively.
Following this weekend’s spluttering start, the Classic TT officially got underway last night – and it was the Superbikes and Lightweight machines out first on the Mountain Course.
Having won the last two RST Classic TT Superbike Races, Dean Harrison was the man to watch at the start of the session. And he went well, putting in a 123.42mph lap from a standing start on his opening lap on his Silicone Engineering Kawasaki ZXR750 – before coming into the pits complaining of a loose exhaust. He then jumped straight onto his Lightweight bike – the Laylaw Racing Yamaha – and promptly clocked a lap of 114.28mph, before coming in with a quickshifter issue.
After the session Harrison talked about the challenge of switching from his BSB Superbike: “I’ve come straight from Cadwell and BSB to the Classic TT. The ZXR isn’t such a big jump but riding the 250 is chalk and cheese. I’ve not got much experience of the two-stroke but you’ve got to respect the little thing because it will bite you.”
And Bruce Anstey marked his two year TT Mountain Course absence by blasting to an opening lap of 110.84 on the Padgetts Yamaha – and on his second lap he promptly set 116.28mph to take his place at the top of the leaderboard. After the lap he said: “It was great to get out and on the second lap things clicked and it felt like normal and as though I’d never been away.”
Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles team boss Clive Padgett said: “I’m just over the moon. We said to Bruce before the lap if you’re not feeling it we’ll pick you up at Ballacraine. He’s loving life – it’s incredible. He was smiling from the off and all the fans are so pleased to see him back and we’ve had so many great comments.”
The Junior and Senior machines were away shortly after ten past seven with Team Winfield rider John McGuinness on the twin-cylinder Paton and Ripley Land Racing’s Michael Rutter on the single-cylinder Matchless jostling for position alongside each other on the start line. However, shortly after the second session began, the session was red flagged following an incident at the Black Hut. With the lost time and light fading at the Grandstand, the second session for Senior and Junior machines and the scheduled Newcomers session was cancelled.
The action expected to get back underway this evening – with the roads are due to close at 18.00. The Lightweight and Superbike Classic TT machines are due out at 18.20, before the Senior and Junior bikes head out at 19.15.