Bruce Anstey won his second successive Lightweight Classic TT on Saturday afternoon when he marmalised the field, eventually defeating second placed Michael Rutter by 1m24s.
And the Padgetts Honda rider’s day was made complete as he shattered the 250cc lap record with a second lap speed of 120.475mph, the first ever 120mph lap by a 250cc machine around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course.
“The main goal coming into the event was to do the 120mph lap and Clive’s done a great job with the bike over the winter so I’m delighted to have got another lap record,” the 48-year old said afterwards.
“I used Ian (Lougher) as a target on the first lap as I didn’t want Michael catching me and those first two laps were flat out all the way. Once I had the lead and a good gap, I could cruise round for two laps.
“I heard the big cheer from the grandstand at the pit stop and the boys told me I’d done the 120mph lap so with the final 250cc TT win in 2002 and two Classic TT wins, it’s nice to add this lap record to my collection.”
Anstey grabbed the lead on the opening run to Glen Helen, having almost taken back the ten second starting advantage of Ian Lougher (Laylaw Racing Yamaha), and it was Michael Dunlop (Turner Racing Yamaha) who initially slotted into second, 8.8s adrift of the Flying Kiwi. However, he was pushed back to third by Dan Sayle who’d started further back at number 14, the Manxman only 4.8s behind Anstey on his Steelcote Solutions Yamaha.
By Ramsey, Anstey had increased his gap over Sayle to 15.6s and he now led on the road too as Lougher held onto third, just ahead of Dunlop, Rutter (Red Fox/Grinta Racing Ducati) and Ivan Lintin (Chapman Racing Honda). Indeed, a stunning opening lap of 119.888mph – the first sub-19 minute lap of the Mountain Course by a 250cc machine - gave Anstey a more than healthy 25.7s lead over Sayle with Rutter now up to third. Lougher was only 2.4s behind in fourth but clear of Lintin and Dan Kneen with Dunlop a retirement at the pits.
Second time around and Anstey was increasing his lead all the time, 30.7s at Glen Helen, 33.2s at Ballaugh and 39.6s at Ramsey Hairpin – and with the aforementioned 120mph+ lap, the margin was 51.9s at the end of lap two as he came into refuel. Sayle was still in second, after his own rapid lap of 117.740mph, with Rutter in third and Lougher, Lintin and Dan Cooper completing the top six.
A rapid pit stop enabled Anstey to pull away further but Sayle was now only five and a half seconds clear of Rutter and this had come down to 4.4s through Glen Helen on lap three. This had become 3.4s by the time they reached Ballaugh and through Ramsey Hairpin, Rutter was now in second as Sayle’s excellent ride ended as he retired just before Churchtown. Kneen and Dan Hegarty also retired from the top ten at Ginger Hall and the Crosby Hotel respectively.
At the head of the field, Anstey had no such worries and heading into his fourth and final lap, his advantage over Rutter was well over a minute. He, in turn, was 13s ahead of Lougher as Lintin, Cooper and Phil Harvey filled the remaining top six positions.
There were to be no dramas for the leading six riders on the final lap and although Lougher ate into the gap to Rutter, the Ducati rider just held on for second by 2.3s with the veteran Welshman rounding out the podium positions. Lintin took a fine fourth place with Harvey moving up to fifth as Cooper slowed on the final lap although the former 125cc British Champion was delighted to have got to the finish after only completing four laps in total, on three bikes, during practice week.
Paul Owen, Stuart Hall, Rikki McGovern and Dan Stewart completed the top ten with Gary Vines missing out on sixth as he retired at Governor’s Bridge on the last lap.