Bedfordshire racer Olie Linsdell won his first race on the TT Mountain Course since his double win in the 2007 Manx Grand Prix Newcomers and Ultra Lightweight races, winning the Bennetts 500cc Classic TT Race on the Giovanni Cabassi Paton.
Olie’s Paton had the honour of getting the inaugural TT Races presented by Bennetts underway. The Paton roared into life to signal the start of the 2013 Classic TT Races races presented by Bennetts and was followed off the line by Cameron Donald riding the Ripley Land Racing Matchless, John McGuinness on the Team Winfield Paton and Bruce Anstey on the McIntosh Racing/Mobil 1 Norton.
Gary Johnson’s MV Agusta failed to fire but the Lincs Lifting rider valiantly pushed off the line to St Ninians and got the Italian machine going on Bray Hill but Conor Cummins was an early retiree, reported as pulling in on the approach to Appledene.
Linsdell’s lead was almost 8 seconds by Glen Helen and the Bedfordshire man completed his first lap in a time of 111.446, beating Ryan Farquhar’s lap record of 110.984 set in the 2010 Manx Grand Prix meeting.
Linsdell held a healthy lead of almost forty seconds over William Dunlop (108.016) on the Davies Motorsport Honda at the end of lap 1 with Bruce Anstey on the McIntosh Mobil 1 Norton in third a further six seconds back on Dunlop. Cameron Donald held fourth after an opening lap of 106.861 with Jamie Coward a further three seconds back on the Australian completing the top five at the end of the opening lap.
McGuinness was clearly still experiencing the problems that had beset him during qualifying and eventually retired in the pits at the end of the first lap having clocked 94.901.
Both Linsdell and second placed rider William Dunlop came into the pits at the end of the first lap to refuel but despite the pit stop, Linsdell still led by 15 seconds from Anstey with Cameron Donald third at Glen Helen on the second lap. However, with Cameron Donald reported as retired at Cruickshanks, Chris Palmer on the Richard Shelton Racing Matchless moved into the top three by Ramsey.
The attrition rate continued with Bruce Anstey another to drop out, retiring at Brandywell on his second lap. Coward leapfrogged Palmer by the end of the second lap to move into second with Blackpool rider Roy Richardson FCL Racing/Martin Bullock Manxsport Aermacchi fourth and William Dunlop holding fifth after his opening lap pit stop.
Linsdell’s power was apparent for all to see when he went through the Sulby speed trap at 146.84mph and he extended his lead on the third lap with a new lap record, breaking his opening lap time with a time of 111.660 to lead by almost fifty seconds from Coward in second. With Palmer retiring at Governors on the third lap, Dunlop moved into the final podium place and closed the gap on Coward to less than a second with Richardson up to fourth and Ian Lougher on the Flitwick Motorcycles Enfield moving into the top five.
While Linsdell consolidated his lead at the front and closed the race out to win with a final lap of 109.401 and a race time of 110.256mph (1:22.07.732), Dunlop passed Coward by Glen Helen on the fourth lap and held second place with a race time of 107.610 (1:24.08.911), Coward dropping to third, finishing in 107.091 (1:24.33.336).
Doug Snow, who finished in tenth place on the John Snow Ducati, also received a garland as the leading privateer with a race time of 1:32.19.762.
Dave Matravers was taken by airmed to Nobles with an injury to his shoulder and knee but was later discharged.
Following the race, the riders had an additional qualifying session for Monday’s Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula Classic Races and the Okells 350/250cc races, which will take place on Monday.
Notable performances came from Michael Dunlop on his Team Classic Suzuki machine with his fastest time of the week – 124.049 (18.14.955) which he set on the opening lap. His second lap, which could potentially have been quicker, was short-lapped just before pit lane. Gary Johnson got rid of some of his frustrations from the Bennetts 500cc race with a lap of 114.529 on his Yamaha.