3 Jun 2013

Michael Dunlop wins the 2013 Isle of Man TT Superbike race

Michael Dunlop is the first man to beat the legendary John McGuinness on a Superbike in an Isle of Man TT since 2003.  Michael, nephew of 26 time TT winner Joey Dunlop, has been coming to the island since 2007, and won the 2009 Supersport TT (for 600cc bikes) on only his 3rd year at the TT.

In 2011 he won the Superstock (for production 1 litre bikes) and in 2012 won the Supersport TT again.   Like all TT racers Michael's rise to the top has been through sheer talent, grit and without any major financial backers.  Indeed in the 2012 TT he was to be found scouring the paddock for parts for his engine after it blew in practice - he had no money for a spare.

The Honda TT Legends team picked him up for 2013 pitting him alongside 19 time winner John McGuinness.

The field was looking particularly strong for this year's TT with Dunlop and McGuinness in the TT Legends Honda team, Guy Martin on the Tyco Suzuki, Cameron Donald on the Wilson Craig Honda, Michael Rutter also on a TT Legends Honda, Bruce Anstey on a HM Plant Honda, Conor Cummins on a Milwaukee Yamaha Superbike, Gary Johnson on a Lincs Lifting Ltd Honda and Josh Brookes making his debut at the TT on a Tyco Suzuki.

Michael Dunlop was in the lead after the first lap of the 37.75 mile Mountain course, with Guy Martin 3.2 seconds behind and Gary Johnson in third place.  Johnson ran out of fuel at the end of the second lap and John McGuinness had increased his pace so the order was Dunlop, McGuinness, Martin.

Michael Dunlop was visibly fastest.  He was riding the TT course like a short circuit, taking kerbs and brushing walls as he kept the hammer down.

The race was six laps and Superbikes can only run two laps worth of fuel so it was pit stop time again at the end of the fourth lap.  John McGuinness was 30 seconds down on Dunlop but exceed the 60kph pit speed limit by 17kmh - and was given a minute penalty.

The order after four laps was Dunlop, Martin, McGuinness.

The last two laps saw blistering speed from John McGuinness and Australian Cameron Donald.  McGuinness set the fastest ever lap of the TT - an average of 131.671mph - to overhaul Guy Martin but Cam Donald really motored to overtake both Martin and McGuinness.

The finishing order was Michael Dunlop, Cameron Donald and John McGuinness.  Thirty years since Joey Dunlop first won for Honda at the TT his nephew Michael and his old team mate John McGuinness stood on the podium.  With Cam Donald's second place Honda achieved a 1-2-3 at the 2013 Superbike race.

The Isle of Man TT never fails to excite and with what looks like a sunny week ahead we can look forward to some more spectacular, and hopefully safe, racing for the rest of the week - culminating in the Senior TT on Friday 7 June.

Will we see a new era of Dunlop domination now that Michael has a sorted bike supplied by a well financed team?  His performance today suggests we might.  And will Guy Martin ever win a TT race?  Hopefully - he deserves it.  He's had a lower profile this year but the continued pressure to perform and achieve that first win seems to be his achilles heal.

You can find the entire TT race and TV schedule here and the full results of Sunday's Superbike race here.