John McGuinness (Winfield Paton) made a successful return to racing around the Mountain Course on Saturday afternoon as he swept to victory in the Senior Classic TT.
The Morecambe Missile was never headed and, aided by three 110mph+ laps, he dominated proceedings to win by 1m13s from Jamie Coward (Ted Woof/Craven Manx Norton) and Lee Johnston (Davies Motorsport Honda).
It was McGuinness who led through Glen Helen on the opening lap, his advantage over Maria Costello (Beugger Racing Paton) 8.8s. Alan Oversby was 1.3s further adrift in third with the Davies Motorsport Honda rider a similar margin clear of Coward as Chris Swallow (Linsdell Enfield) and Michael Rutter (Ripley Land Matchless) completed the top six.
McGuinness added another ten seconds to his lead by the time he got to Ballaugh and it was Coward who was now up to second as both Ian Lougher (Union Mills) and Bill Swallow (Ballaugh) retired.
By Ramsey, McGuinness’ lead over Coward was up to 24.8s but whilst Costello remained in third, Rutter had stopped to make adjustments on the approach to Ramsey. Oversby, Olie Linsdell and Davey Todd were also out and the top six was now completed by Swallow, Johnston and Michael Russell (Izzard Racing Norton).
An opening lap of 110.510mph meant McGuinness held a 38.3s lead over Coward who lapped at a more than respectable 107.170mph. Costello was only 1.8s behind in third with Swallow closing in on the final podium position, the gap down to 2.9s. Johnston was also well in touch as Russell continued to hold onto sixth just ahead of James Hillier.
Second time around and McGuinness continued to extend his lead but Coward and Costello swapped positions, Costello nosing ahead at Glen Helen by just 0.231s. Johnston also overhauled Swallow for fourth with Russell holding onto sixth.
At half race distance, McGuinness increased his lead to a whopping 71s over Coward after lapping at 110.676mph and Johnston, who lapped at 108.189mph, was now up to third as Costello slipped back to fourth on the second half of the lap. Indeed, the gap between second to fourth was only six seconds although Costello’s Paton was misfiring heavily as she crossed the line.
The battle for second between Coward and Johnston was hotting up all the time, just one second between them at Glen Helen on lap three and Swallow moved up to fourth at the expense of Costello. By Ballaugh, Johnston had moved up to second but McGuinness was now some 1m34s clear and although he had to pit for fuel at the end of the third lap, a win looked a formality.
Johnston also had to stop for a splash and dash and that handed second place back to Coward but at the head of the field, McGuinness sailed to victory, repeating his 2016 win, his eventual winning margin over Coward 1m13s, the latter taking second place just as he had done in 2017.
Swallow moved ahead of Johnston as a result of the Northern Irishman’s pit stop but he reclaimed the final podium position on the final Mountain climb and it was Russell and Danny Webb who completed the top six after Costello retired at the pits at the end of lap three. Hillier, Chris McGahan, Richard Wilson and Joey Thompson rounded out the top ten.
2018 Senior Classic TT results
1 1 John McGuinness Paton / Roger Winfield 01:22:52.747 109.258 Silver
2 3 Jamie Coward Norton / Ted Woof / Craven Manx Norton 01:24:05.819 107.676 Silver
3 13 Lee Johnston Honda / Davies Motorsport 01:24:31.403 107.132 Silver
4 16 Chris Swallow Linsdell Enfield / Linsdell Enfield, Flitwick M 01:24:35.400 107.048 Silver
5 19 Michael Russell Norton / Izzard Racing 01:26:40.309 104.477 Silver
6 17 Danny Webb Norton / Dunnell Racing 01:28:29.670 102.325 Bronze
7 14 James Hillier Honda / CSC Racing 01:29:14.112 101.476 Bronze
8 35 Chris McGahan Honda / Maurice & Ann Hughes from Fife, S 01:29:33.559 101.108 Bronze
9 41 Richard Wilson Drixton Honda / Chris Hughes Racing 01:29:34.175 101.097 Bronze
10 7 Joey Thompson Norton / Goathland Garage 01:29:40.336 100.981 Bronze
11 28 Philip McGurk BSA / Dave Hardman 01:30:24.279 100.163 Bronze
12 26 David Madsen-Mygdal Honda / Team Gimbert Racing 01:31:59.705 98.431
13 23 Peter Boast Honda / D&M Engineering 01:32:06.746 98.306
14 24 Hefyn Owen Seeley / Owen Racing 01:32:07.863 98.286
15 43 Will Loder Seeley 01:33:24.179 96.948
16 30 Meredydd Owen Seeley / Owen Racing 01:33:27.270 96.894
17 47 Josh Daley DMR Honda 500/4rr / Steadplan Primus Ra 01:33:40.518 96.666
18 37 Keith Dixon Matchless / Minnovation Racing 01:34:23.750 95.928
19 40 Keith Clarke Norton / Izzard Racing 01:35:35.573 94.727
20 79 David Tetley* Seeley / Competition Fasteners 01:37:05.487 93.265
21 38 Colin Stockdale Honda / Whitby Tyre & Exhaust Centre Ltd. 01:37:08.136 93.222
22 63 Jeff Smith Matchless / RobSpeed Motorcycles 01:38:05.740 92.310
23 69 Leon Murphy Honda / Maurice Hughes 01:38:05.757 92.310
24 52 Lee Jennings Dunnel / Hammer and Tongs Performance, 01:38:24.704 92.013
25 65 Ian Bainbridge Norton / Sponsor Janette Bainbridge 01:38:44.334 91.709
26 67 Grant Sellars Norton 01:14:35.133 91.055