After retiring for the last three years, John McGuinness finally claimed victory in the Bennetts Senior Classic TT race, the Morecambe rider taking today’s win in record-breaking style by over twenty seconds from Dean Harrison.
There was little to choose between the two riders for the first half of the four-lap race but with Harrison pitting for fuel at the end of lap two and McGuinness at the end of lap three, the latter went clear on the Team Winfield Paton and was able to cruise home on the final lap.
“We’ve been trying so hard to get the win these last few years so it’s absolutely mega to have finally done it, not just for myself but for Roger (Winfield) and the whole team. There was nothing between Dean and myself to begin with but the pit stops changed everything and the bike never missed a beat. It’s been frustrating having been parked by the roadside each year and when I was sitting on my backside at Quarterbridge last night, I was thinking ‘what am I doing?’,” said McGuinness.
“I’ve been desperate to win this race and the last few years have been frustrating but today makes up for it and I really, really enjoyed it. We’d changed gearing for the day which worked out for the best and I actually wore ear plugs for the very first time in my career as these old bikes can give you a bit of a hammering! The first lap didn’t feel the greatest but the second felt better and the splash and dash meant I could ease off a bit on the final lap.”
It was McGuinness who led at Glen Helen on the opening lap, his advantage over Harrison 1.5s with Maria Costello on a second Paton in third from Conor Cummins, Alan Oversby and Michael Rutter. Ian Lougher was an early retirement on the Honda RC181 at Union Mills though with Dan Hegarty also out at Ballacraine.
Harrison grabbed the lead at Ballaugh albeit by just a tenth of a second and he was still in the top spot at Ramsey, eking the gap out to 0.341s. McGuinness’ team-mate Cummins race was over, having stopped at Quarry Bends, and that allowed Oversby, Rutter and Jamie Coward all to move up a spot.
With a new lap record of 112.077mph, Harrison led at the end of the first lap but it was close with McGuinness still only 0.3s adrift, his opening lap of 112.043mph also inside the old lap record. Costello was holding onto third with Rutter now in fourth ahead of Oversby and Coward. Veteran Bill Swallow was going well in seventh and he was the last rider to lap at more than 105mph although the top 16 were all over 100mph.
Throughout the second lap, there was nothing between Harrison and McGuinness, the gap never more than a second, and their record-breaking pace had sent them over a minute clear of third placed Costello.
By the Bungalow, McGuinness had brought the gap down to 0.3s and his lap of 113.342mph wasn’t only another new lap record, it was also the first sub-20 minute lap in the class. It all meant he took over first place with Harrison now five seconds adrift after he lapped at 112.830mph. He, along with Costello, pitted for fuel which allowed McGuinness to stretch his advantage even further. Oversby had moved up to fourth from Rutter and Coward but Rutter was a retirement at the pits.
With some riders pitting and others going straight through the leaderboard changed considerably on lap three and McGuinness was over a minute clear of Harrison with Oversby now in third from Costello, Coward and new sixth placed rider Danny Webb. James Hillier, meanwhile, retired from tenth at Ramsey.
The Morecambe rider made a splash and dash at the end of lap three so it wasn’t until Glen Helen on the fourth and final lap that the gap to Harrison would be finalised. And his strategy had worked as the lead was 21 seconds and he maintained that margin for the remainder of the final lap for his first Classic TT win.
Costello reclaimed third on the final lap to make it two Patons on the podium with Coward, Oversby and Dominic Herbertson filling out the top six positions.
2016 Bennetts Classic Senior TT
1 1 John McGuinness Paton / Team Winfield 01:21:10.189 111.559 GP2 Silver
2 12 Dean Harrison MV Agusta / Black Eagle Racing 01:21:31.627 111.070 GP2 Silver
3 6 Maria Costello Paton / Beugger Racing 01:24:47.253 106.799 GP2 Silver
4 9 Jamie Coward Norton / Ted Woof 01:25:31.923 105.869 GP1 Silver
5 8 Alan Oversby Honda / Davies Motorsport 01:25:39.580 105.711 GP2 Bronze
6 23 Dominic Herbertson Honda / Herbertson Racing 01:26:39.213 104.499 P2 Silver
7 15 Danny Webb Norton / Dunnell Racing 01:26:39.260 104.498 GP1 Silver
8 16 Bill Swallow Moto Paton / Gleve Racing / John Poyner 01:26:44.622 104.390 GP2 Bronze
9 2 Oliver Linsdell Linsdell Enfield / Flitwick Motorcycles / Step 01:27:27.029 103.547 GP1 Silver
10 13 Horst Saiger Egli-Vincent / www.eglimotorcycles.com 01:27:56.513 102.968 P1 Silver
11 38 Hefyn Owen Seeley 01:29:58.283 100.645 P1 Silver
12 18 Nick Jefferies Norton / Goathland Garage 01:30:21.222 100.219 P1 Silver
13 34 Bob Owen Seeley / Dave & Alan Green / Green Racing 01:30:32.437 100.013 P1 Silver
14 31 Philip McGurk BSA / Dave Hardman 01:30:36.435 99.939 P1 Silver
15 33 Dave Matravers Paton / Round Oak Services Ltd 01:31:05.257 99.412 P2 Bronze
16 7 Cameron Donald Vincent / MOTOGALLUR 01:31:06.530 99.389 GP1 Bronze
17 29 John Leigh Pemberton Norton / Works Racing Motorcycles 01:31:58.768 98.448 P1 Silver
18 28 Meredydd Owen Seeley / Owen Racing 01:32:25.215 97.979 P1 Bronze
19 64 Lancelot Unissart Egli-Vincent / Godet Motorcycles 01:32:57.076 97.419 P1 Bronze
20 36 Alan Bud Jackson Norton / Jim Postlethwaite 01:35:08.344 95.179 P1 Bronze
21 58 Mick Moreton Paton 01:35:11.738 95.122 P2 Bronze
22 51 Richard Lambourne Petty Norton / Geartech 01:36:08.496 94.186 P1 Bronze
23 55 Edward Poole Norton / Sheila M Poole 01:37:19.122 93.047 P1
24 56 Andy Lee Norton / Wiz Norton Racing/Brookside Gara 01:37:48.876 92.575 P1
25 72 David Hastings Drixton Honda / Team 1066 01:37:50.209 92.554 P2
26 62 Brian Cooper Norton / Andrew Cooper Farrier 01:39:31.229 90.988 P1
27 43 Colin Stockdale Honda / David Martin 01:40:16.888 90.298 P2
28 68 Geoff Bates Bates Honda / Geoff Bates Racing 01:40:17.450 90.289 P2
29 50 Ian Bainbridge Norton / Janette Bainbridge 01:40:39.827 89.955 P1
30 84 Tony Tuttle Honda / Tony Tuttle Racing 01:42:31.362 88.324 P2
31 82 Jeff Smith Honda / RobSpeed Motorcycles 01:43:07.183 87.812 P2
32 79 Arthur Jones Seeley / J.A.Jones Engineering 01:43:33.145 87.446 P1
33 54 Phil Woodall Seeley / Competition Fasteners 01:45:53.789 85.510 P1
34 73 Roy Phipps Honda / Biketech Stoke Ltd 01:46:34.125 84.971 P2
35 77 Jimmy Creer Honda / Bill France / Rob Brew CGB 01:21:49.494 82.999 P2
36 81 Jan Koning ABSAF Seeley / ABSAF 01:22:16.364 82.547 P1
37 87 Gary Hutton* Honda 01:22:29.442 82.329 P2