Michael Dunlop bounced back to winning ways in the first Supertwins TT race of the week, collecting his third victory of the 2023 Isle of Man TT thus far and with it status of becoming the second most successful rider in TT history.
After seeing his hopes of a hat-trick of wins from three starts scuppered by Peter Hickman in the earlier Superstock TT Race 1, Dunlop nevertheless began the Supertwins TT as hot favourite to build on what is shaping up to be a record-breaking week for the Ulsterman.
And so it proved, Dunlop easing home almost 27secs clear after three laps for his third win of the event, not to mention a 24th career success that puts him within striking distance of reaching the all-time record of 26 this week
An enthralling race-long dice for second went the way of Mike Browne, who scored a huge personal best at the TT on the Burrows Engineering Paton for his maiden podium, just +2.2secs ahead of Jamie Coward.
Hickman came home a lonely fourth, with Josh Brookes equalling his personal best result at the TT with a competitive fifth at the flag.
Dunlop makes hay while the evening sun shines
Getting underway in the glorious golden glow of another beautiful evening on the Manx Island, Dunlop would likely have recognised that only a mistake by himself or a problem with his trusty Paton could scupper his bid for victory in the Supertwins class.
Indeed, with Peter Hickman's challenge always likely to be dictated by his new, barely tested Yamaha R7 package and Dean Harrison opting against a Supertwins entry this year, the path had seemingly been cleared for Dunlop to make it a hat-trick for 2023.
Not that fate hasn't conspired in the past, Dunlop seeing a potential win go by the wayside in 2022 when technical issues curtailed a thrilling duel between himself and Hickman.
On this occasion, however, Dunlop was not to be denied, swiftly opening up a five-second lead over the chasing pack on the first run down to Glen Helen. It was a margin that would incrementally grow over the ensuing sectors to hand Dunlop a comfortable +14.3s margin by the time he'd come back around for his mandatory pit-stop.
From here Dunlop put ambitions of chasing lap records to the back of his mind, notably easing the intensity of his pace in order to prioritise the win.
With no late charge forthcoming, Dunlop come across Cronk ny Mona and down to the finish line to take victory, in so doing moving clear of John McGuinness on the all-time list, leaving him just two short of levelling up with uncle Joey Dunlop's 26 TT wins.
Mike Browne wins tug-of-war for maiden podium
If Dunlop's route to victory was fairly unruffled, then the battle for second place was anything but as Browne and Coward emerged as the surprise gladiators clashing swords for the position.
With his one and only TT podium coming in the preceding Lightweight TT class in 2019, Coward - riding the KTS Racing by Steadplan Kawasaki Z650 - has form in this category, which he demonstrated by quickly establishing himself as Dunlop's closest, albeit very distant, rival.
However, he'd soon come under increasing pressure from Browne who, in only his third TT appearance, quickly proved his eye-catching qualifying practice pace was no fluke to slot himself into third straight away.
With Browne underdog status demonstrated by his comparatively low seed in the running order, it meant there was a long wait between himself and Coward's sector splits, which only served to ramp up the tension.
Coward held firm until the start of the final lap when Browne's chipping away at the margin finally brought the reward of a second place promotion.
Coward fought back, sneaking ahead by just 0.011s by Ballaugh, but come the next split at Ramsey, Browne was back into a second place he'd protect to the flag, beating his rival by just +2.2secs for his first-ever visit to the TT podium enclosure.
Almost half-a-minute behind Coward, Hickman salvaged a solid fourth place finish on his PHR Performance Yamaha R7.
A winner in the Supertwins TT class in 2022 aboard a Paton, the switch to Yamaha for 2023 was hampered by a precious lack of testing and a DNF in the preceding North West 200. Only setting off for a lap on the R7 in practice directly before the race, Hickman nonetheless kept it ticking over to reach the flag.
In doing so he just got the better of FHO Racing BSB team-mate Josh Brookes, who notched up a fifth place finish on the Dafabet Kawasaki to equal his best-ever result at the TT.
After just missing the podium in 2022, Pierre-Yves Bian scored another strong result on his Paton S1-R in sixth, heading off Dominic Herbertson on his Kawasaki in seventh and Michael Rutter in eighth on the Bathams Yamaha R7.
With high-profile non-finishers including Brian McCormack, Stefano Bonetti and Francesco Curinga, it paved the way for Baz Furber (DC Auto Repairs Kawasaki) and Rob Hodson (SMT Kawasaki) to complete the top ten.
2023 Isle of Man TT - Supertwins TT Race 1 FULL RESULTS
|2023 Isle of Man TT - Supertwins Race 1 Results [Tuesday 06-06-23]|
|1||Michael Dunlop||MD Racing||Paton S1-R|
|2||Mike Browne||Burrows Engineering RK||Paton S1-R|
|3||Jamie Coward||KTS Racing Steadplan||Kawasaki ER-6F|
|4||Peter Hickman||PHR Performance||Yamaha R7|
|5||Josh Brookes||Dafabet Racing||Kawasaki Z650|
|6||Pierre Yves Bian||VAS Engine||Paton S1-R|
|7||Dominic Herbertson||John M Paterson||Kawasaki Z650|
|8||Michael Rutter||Bathams Racing||Yamaha R7|
|9||Baz Furber||DC Auto Repairs Newtown||Yamaha MT-07|
|10||Rob Hodson||SMT/KH Commercials||KawasakI Z650|
|11||Michael Evans||Rea Racing Dyno Centre||Aprilia RS 660|
|12||Michal Dokoupil||Rocknet||Aprilia RS 660|
|13||Michael Russell||Fraser Evans Tyre||Aprilia RS 660|
|14||Chris Moore||Silverstar Services||Kawasaki Z650|
|15||Martin Morris||Obsession Engineering||Aprilia RS 660|
|16||Paul Potchy Williams||Golden Site Solutions||Kawasaki Z650|
|17||Dave Hewson||Obsession Engineering||Aprilia RS 660|
|18||Jonathan Goetschy||Goetschy Racing||Aprilia RS 660|
|19||Miroslav Sloboda||Laki RT53||Yamaha R7|
|20||Paul Cassidy||Island Fuels Ltd||Kawasaki Z650|
|21||Pete Murray||Arizona Speed Engineering||Kawasaki Ninja 650|
|22||Gareth Arnold||Gareth Arnold||Aprilia RS 660|
|23||James Cringle||AGR Motorsports||Kawasaki ER-6F|
|24||Andy Hornby||Black Eagle Racing||Paton S1-R|
|25||Tom Weeden||Kawasaki ER-6F|
|26||David Madsen-Mygdal||RJP Racing||Kawasaki Z650|
|27||Masayuki Yamanaka||Team ILR / Frog Vehicle||Kawasaki ER-6F|
|28||Jack Petrie||AM Tiling||Kawasaki ER-6F|
|29||Raul Torras Martinez||Optimark Road Racing||Aprilia RS 660|
|30||David Brook||Brook Motorsport||Aprilia RS 660|
|31||Paul Jordan||Prez Racing by Prosper||Kawasaki Z650|
|DNF||Brian McCormack||Global Robots||Aprilia RS 660|
|DNF||Xavier Denis||PerformanX Racing||Kawasaki Z650|
|DNF||Kevin Barsby||Cowton Racing/Sally Nunn||Kawasaki ER-6F|
|DNF||Vinny Brennan||Vinny Brennan||Kawasaki Z650|
|DNF||Chris Szczypek||Oxman Carpentry||Suzuki SV650|
|DNF||Stefano Bonetti||Team ILR / Frog Vehicle||Paton S1-R|
|DNF||Francesco Curinga||Team ILR / Frog Vehicle||Paton S1-R|
|DNF||James Chawke||Carl Roberts/Emmjess Racing||Kawasaki Z650|
|DNF||Jonathan Perry||Jonathan Parry Racing||Kawasaki Ninja 650|
|DNS||Rhys Hardisty||Kawasaki Z650|
|DNS||Julian Trummer||Yamaha R7|