Michael Dunlop ground to a halt for the third successive night in Superbike practice at the Classic TT this evening, leaving his Team Classic Suzuki crew mystified and frustrated as to the exact cause of the problems that have swept through the bikes.
An engine blew on Tuesday and Wednesday night on the 1216cc machine, leaving team chief Nathan Colombo with a small-hours session to get the bike on the grid for the Thursday night. But Dunlop stopped again on the Thursday session, and at the moment the cause of this latest failure is unknown. Lee Johnston also stopped tonight on another Team Classic Suzuki XR69.
The wave of troubles has hit Steve Wheatman’s squad while chief rivals Padgetts Racing are soaring ever faster round the Mountain Circuit, with Bruce Anstey scorching to a 125.49mph lap on his Yamaha YZR500. Other teams are sympathising with the difficulties faced by the Suzuki crew, however, for the Mountain Circuit can be notoriously fickle in the way it lashes out.
Dunlop and the XR69 won the Classic Superbike TT last year, but this year is proving to be a nightmare for the Northern Irishman. Although he lapped earlier in the week at 112.30mph on his Turner Racing Yamaha, the Lightweight Classic TT bike stopped at Quarter Bridge tonight.