2014 Isle of Man TT Thursday Qualifying
Cool and rainy conditions Thursday once again plagued the 37.73-mile Snaefell Mountain Course during 2014 Isle of Man TT qualifying.
Due to the damp surface, Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson canceled the Superbike and Superstock qualifying, leaving the liter bikes silent for the evening. Wednesday’s sessions were also shortened due to similar circuit conditions.
This left the teams to continue qualifying the Supersport, Lightweight and F2 Sidecar machines.
And leading the charge in the Supersport class was Michael Dunlop, the rider who won four of five solo races last year for a total of seven-career TT victories. Michael, who also won two North West 200 races aboard the Hawk Racing BMW S1000RR, piloted his MD Racing Honda CBR600RR supersport machine to a best lap of 124.537 mph.
When the Supersport qualifying began, TYCO Suzuki’s Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop were the first off the line, followed by Martin’s teammate William Dunlop and Smiths Triumph’s Michael Rutter.
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson began the session, but would later retire due to mechanical issues.
The IOM TT reports that ,ost riders opted for their Supersport machines, but Lee Johnston, Keith Amor, David Johnson, Ivan Lintin and James Cowton all piloted their Lightweight motorcycles.
William Dunlop began with the quickest lap, posting a 120.683 mph. Also posting over 120 were Rutter, Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes, and Johnson. Brookes continued the set pace, eventually hitting 122.011 mph.
Valvoline Honda’s Bruce Anstey would post a 122.290 mph, and his teammate, 20-time TT winner John McGuinness, was quickest until Ramsey, where the “Morecamble Missile” slowed down due to damp sections.
But on his final lap, Michael Dunlop put in the fastest Supersport lap of the week at 124.530 mph. He was followed by Martrain Yamaha’s Dean Harrison (123.886), William Dunlop (122.978), Anstey (122.290) and Brookes (122.011).
In the Lightweight class, the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki motorcycles of Keith Amor and Ryan Farquhar were fastest, with the duo lapping at 116.206 and 115.593mph respectively as they circulated together for much of the second lap.
Third fastest was Stewart Smith Racing Kawasaki’s Jamie Hamilton, who was on pace with a 114.212. He was followed by CF Moto WK Bikes’ Gary Johnson (113.843), Mckinstry Racing Kawasaki’s Ivan Lintin (113.478) and RC Express Kawasaki’s Dean Harrison (113.062).
The sidecars got the action underway at 18:27 with Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance first away followed by Ben and Tom Birchall, Tim Reeves/Gregory Cluze and Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott and conditions could be seen in the lap times with Reeves quickest at 106.527 followed by Harrison at 105.324 and Greg Lambert/Kenny Cole at 105.108, the IOM TT reports.
Molyneux had stopped at Ballaugh with a punctured rear tyre while John Holden/Andy Winkle also pulled in at Ballacraine. However, at around 18.45 the session was stopped due a civilian emergency in the Quarter Bridge area unconnected with the racing. When it re-started at 19.15 the roads up on the Mountain had dried considerably and Holden put his early problems behind him to go to the top of the times with a lap of 111.586, followed by Birchall (111.280), Reeves (108.306), Carl Fenwick/Phil Knapton (107.586) and Frank Lelias/Paul Knapton (107.069), the IOM TT reports.
The newcomers were also showing well with Alan Founds/Tom Peters and Dwight and Noel Beare lapping at 101.981 and 100.951 respectively.
In an incident at Pinfold Cottage that delayed the start of the solo’s qualifying session, Ewan Walker and Dickie Gale were taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital. Walker sustained minor injuries while Gale was reported to have back and knee injuries, the IOM TT reports.
Due to the canceled sessions, the Superbikes, Supersport and Superstock machines will qualifying on Friday between 18:20 and 20:00; the Sidecars between 20:05 and 20:35; and the TT Zero qualifying between 20:40 and 20:55.
Photography by Wayne Freestone