Steve Plater took a highly dramatic Senior TT race today, taking control after early race leader John McGuinness was forced out on the fourth lap with a broken chain. The Morecambe rider had smashed his four-day old outright lap record with a second lap speed of 131.578mph, the fastest ever lap seen on the Mountain Circuit, and appeared to have the race in the bag until he stopped at Cruickshanks. Plater, second throughout having also broken the 130mph barrier, took over and came home 19.54seconds ahead of Manxman Conor Cummins, the third rider to officially lap at more than 130mph, with Gary Johnson taking his first podium in third.
The race was delayed half an hour due to slight rain in the Alpine Cottage area but at 1.30pm the race got underway and it was McGuinness on his HM Plant Honda who stormed in to an early lead. Two seconds up at Glen Helen he stretched his advantage throughout the lap and with a new outright lap record of 130.953mph he led Plater, who was also inside the old lap record, by 3.68seconds. Cummins was in third followed by Ian Hutchinson, Bruce Anstey and Guy Martin, the last named having ignition problems before the start.
On lap 2, McGuinness was keen to pull away from his team-mate and he did just that with a sensational lap of 131.578mph, quicker even than Cameron Donald’s practice lap. It meant he was now 14.67seconds ahead of Plater with Cummins maintaining station in third. Hutchinson was still in fourth but Johnson was now up to fifth ahead of Martin whilst Anstey’s miserable week continued when he stopped at the 33rd milestone with a smoking engine.
At half race distance, McGuinness was almost 20 seconds clear but there was drama on the fourth lap when he was late arriving at Ramsey Hairpin. Plater swept through to take the lead and the news came through that McGuinness was out at Cruickshanks with a broken chain. That was just the start of the drama though as first Martin and then Keith Amor were both forced out at the second refuelling stop, the former also with a snapped chain and the latter with a rear spindle that refused to go in.
Plater now led from Cummins, who lapped at 130.225mph on his fourth lap, and Hutchinson but there was even more dramatic news to follow as Tuesday’s double race winner crashed at Quarter Bridge, not only losing third but also the £10,000 first prize and Joey Dunlop Trophy that he was scheduled to win for the overall championship.
Fellow Honda man Plater had no such problems though and he was able to push home for his second TT win and, with Hutchinson’s demise, he also collected the overall award. Cummins became the first Manxman to stand on a Senior TT race podium since Gary Carswell in 2004, whilst Johnson gave team boss Uel Duncan the perfect birthday present with third.
With a whole list of retirements, that saw just four riders from the top ten finish, Irishman Adrian Archibald moved up the order to fourth, winning the inaugural Martin Finnegan Trophy in the process, whilst privateer Carl Rennie rounded off a great week with his best ever TT result in fifth.
Dan Stewart did likewise in sixth with Michael Rutter, getting his best result of the week, in seventh ahead of John Burrows, James Hillier and Ian Mackman, all three posting personal best results.
Luis Carreira was the best of the newcomers in 18th whilst Jenny Tinmouth lapped faster than on Tuesday to further strengthen her new tag as the fastest female ever at the TT but there was disappointment for American ace Mark Miller who was lying in a superb 10th place when he broke down at Quarter Bridge on the fifth lap.
The race also ended abruptly for the riders towards the back of the field as they were flagged off at the end of their fifth lap due to rain again falling on the west part of the circuit.
John Crellin, 58, was killed in an accident at the mountain box during the Senior TT race. John, 58, was an experienced TT competitor who has competed in a number of TT races and Manx Grand Prix events. The Department of Tourism and Leisure and ACU events Ltd extend their deepest sympathy to John's family.
Download the results from our 2009 TT Results page.
Joey Dunlop Trophy – final standings
1 Steve Plater – 84pts
2 Ian Hutchinson – 74pts
3 Guy Martin – 56pts
4 John McGuinness – 52pts
5 Conor Cummins – 52pts
6 Gary Johnson – 50pts