McGuinness, Dunlop & Anstey Top Friday Classic TT Qualifying

McGuinness & Anstey Top Friday Classic TT Qualifying
Bruce Anstey

2014 Classic TT Friday Qualifying

The final qualifying session for the 500cc race wrapped up Friday ahead of the second-annual Isle of Man Classic TT held on the iconic 37.73-mile Mountain Course.

Qualifying/practice also continued for the Formula 1, Formula 2 and 350cc classes, though those groups each have final sessions on Saturday following the 500cc race.

The day began with many festivities due to this year’s the 1980s theme to honor the late Joey Dunlop – a 26-time TT winner. But when the riders got on the track during the evening, three riders completely dominated – 21-time TT winner John McGuinness, 11-time TT winner Michael Dunlop and nine-time TT winner Bruce Anstey, who also set the outright lap record on the Mountain Course during the 2014 Isle of Man TT.

With conditions the best of the week, the only threat was bright sunlight – though some damp patches were present at Governors Dip.

By night’s end, the following riders led their perspective groups:

500cc Classic TT Qualifying:
1. John McGuinness (Paton/Team Winfield) – 20:12.415 (112.031 mph)
2. Ryan Farquhar (Paton/Team Winfield) – 20:22.549 (111.102)
3. Ian Lougher (CMM Paton/Flitwick Motorcycles) – 20:42.910 (109.282)

Formula 1 Classic TT Qualifying (final):
1. Bruce Anstey (Yamaha Valvoline Racing by Pad) – 18:25.301 (122.888 mph)
2. Michael Dunlop (Suzuki/Team Classic Suzuki) – 18:31.764 (122.173)
3. James Hillier (Kawasaki/Greenall Racing) – 18:57.627 (119.396)

Formula 2 Classic TT Qualifying:
1. Roy Richardson (Yamaha/FLC Racing/Martin Bullo) – 20:30.890 (110.349 mph)
2. James Cowton (Yamaha/Peter Berwick) – 20:35 998 (109.983)
3. Chris Moore (Yamaha/MW Motorcycles) – 20:53.020 (108.401)

350cc Classic TT Qualifying:
1. Alan Oversby (Honda/Davies Motorsport) – 22:02.484 (102.707 mph)
2. William Dunlop (Honda/Davies Motorsport) – 22:21.233 (101.271)
3. Connon Behan (Honda/Ted Woof) – 22:40.431 (9.842)

Following is the official report:

In the first session, away on time at 18.20, Northern Ireland rider Lee Johnson was first away on his Black Eagle Racing 350cc MV Agusta with Michael Rutter alongside him riding the Seeley G50 that he’ll race in tomorrow’s Bennetts 500cc Classic TT Race. However, Rutter was reported as an early retirement at Ballacraine shortly after but Johnston went on to post the fastest 350 time of the evening (99.792mph).

John McGuinness was quickly on the pace in the 500’s session and was fastest to Ramsey ahead of Ryan Farquhar, the pair riding the Team Winfield Patons and McGuinness laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the field, posting the fastest 500cc time of the week and inside race winner Olie Linsdell’s lap record from last year’s 500cc Race, setting himself up nicely for tomorrow’s race. McGuinness later revealed that he’d actually been taking it steady through the opening sector as he was on new tyres.

Farquhar’s 109.749 was the second fastest with Bruce Anstey on the McIntosh Norton (106.487), Ian Lougher on the Flitwick Motorcycles Paton (105.768), William Dunlop (105.739) and Michael Dunlop on the Molnar Manx Norton (105.348) all having useful shakedowns ahead of the first race day.

The latter F1/F2 session Bruce Anstey (120.968) and Michael Dunlop (120.505), last year’s race winner, continue to stamp their authority on the field. Dunlop’s opening lap was all the more credible as it was clear that he lost a significant amount of time on the final sector and he later reported that his F1 machine was stuck in fourth gear on the run in from the Bungalow. Anstey, on his Valvolene by Padgetts Motorcycles YZR500 Yamaha then went quicker on his second lap, posting the fastest of the week to date with 122.888, inside his time from Wednesday’s session.

Saturdayfirst race day features the Bennetts 500cc Race, which is scheduled to get away at 12.30, which follows a qualifying session for the F1/F2 and 350cc machines.

Photos by Wayne Freestone