Following a near perfect Tuesday of qualifying for the 2017 Isle of Man TT, misty weather once again affected conditions on the 37.73-mile Mountain Course.With heavy mist rolling in from the Irish sea, Wednesday qualifying sessions were red flagged. Unlike Monday’s opening TT qualifying sessions that were completely canceled due to misty conditions,the riders were able to clock one full lap on Wednesday.
Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson originally planned to run additional laps at full speed to Ramsey Hairpin, but the mist prevented such actions.When the limited qualifying session was complete, it was once again Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop leading the way. The 11-time TT winner Hutchinson topped the day with a 128.98mph average lap time aboard the Tyco BMW S 1000 RR, and Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 pilot Dunlop trailed with a 127.23 mph. Both of these riders also topped Tuesday’s TT qualifying sessions.Dunlop, a 13-time TT winner, holds the outright lap record of 133.393mph (2016, BMW S 1000 RR) – destroying the previous record set in the 2015 Senior TT by 23-time TT winner John McGuinness (132.701mph, Honda). As for McGuinness, he broke his leg during qualifying for the North West 200 earlier this month, and was forced to not race this year’s TT.Following is the official Isle of Man TT Wednesday qualifying report:The session got underway on time at 6:20 pm with the riders briefed that they may be stopped at Ramsey but on the first lap, it was clear enough to at least get a full lap in and Hutchinson, first away from the line with Steve Mercer, put down the marker with his 128mph lap to top the evening’s and overall leaderboard, such as it is to date.Mercer lapped at 123.98mph quickly followed over the line by Dunlop who time was second quickest. Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp set almost identical lap times at 123.96 and 123.94 respectively, having set off together while James Hillier was slightly quicker at 124.52mph.Bruce Anstey completed his first lap of the week on the Honda RC211V, lapping at 124.14mph, with Conor Cummins and Gary Johnson also above the 124mph mark. However, the third quickest lap of the night came from Dan Kneen on his DTR powered by Penz 13 BMW, who posted a speed of 125.19, which saw him again top the Superstock class as he had the previous evening.The Norton Racing Australian duo of David Johnson and Josh Brookes were picking up the pace, lapping at 123.61mph and 122.58mph respectively while Guy Martin was also quicker than the previous night with a lap of 121.42mph.Lee Johnston was the quickest 600 on the padgettsmotorcycles.com bike, with a speed of 122.16mph but conditions were already deteriorating with fog descending on the Mountain and visibility significantly reduced.The riders were short lapped at the start and finish but went out again with all the front runners going at full pace to Ramsey. Unfortunately, the cloud cover wasn’t just descending on the Mountain and was now coming down on the bottom part of the circuit and it was reported that, with no airmed cover possible anywhere around the 37.73-miles course, the session was ended at 7.15pm.Dave Sellers was reported to be off at the Gooseneck and though reported as up and okay he was later transferred to Nobles hospital with a reported rib injury.2017 Isle of Man TT Qualfiying, Thursday Schedule (all local times):
18:20 to 19:10, Superbike/ Superstock/ Supersport/ Newcomers (all classes ex Lightweight)
19:10 to 19:35, Supersport/ Lightweight/ Newcomers (all Classes)
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.