McGuinness secures 17th TT win and 2011 championship in thrilling finale
John McGuinness won a thrilling PokerStars Senior race on Friday evening when he came from behind to take his 17th TT victory in the final race of the 2011 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy in a new Race Record time of 1:45.45.80, beating Steve Plater’s 2009 time.
The race was delayed by 5 hours due to inclement weather in the North of the Island, and the Honda TT Legends rider found himself seven seconds in arrears at the end of the first lap but he gradually reeled in early race leader Guy Martin and he was 13 seconds clear by the end of lap 5. His eventual winning margin over the Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider was 7.2s while Bruce Anstey, who was right in the frame in the early laps, took third on the Padgetts Honda a further 7 seconds behind Martin.
With rain – and hail – reported in the Ramsey area around lunchtime, the race eventually got underway at 5.15pm and when it did it was Martin who made the early running. By Ramsey he had opened up a three second lead over Anstey with Gary Johnson in third, McGuinness over six seconds behind the leader in fourth.
As the riders flashed across Glencrutchery Road for the first time, Martin led with an opening lap of 131.038mph, 4.48s ahead of Anstey with McGuinness, although lapping at more than 130mph, slightly off the pace and, seven seconds behind Martin, he had a lot of work to do. Johnson was still in fourth whilst Michael Dunlop and Keith Amor completed the top six.
Things were hotting up on the second lap and it was clear McGuinness was beginning to get into his stride and although the front three weren’t on lap record pace, they were still well above 130mph. The Morecambe man was quickest on lap two, just five seconds now covering Martin, Anstey and McGuinness. Dunlop was now up to fourth ahead of Johnson and Amor.
A superb pitstop by the Honda team saw McGuinness arrive at Glen Helen level with Martin and with a third lap over seven seconds quicker than his two main rivals, he seized control of the race, also putting the hammer down all around lap 4 of the Mountain Course. With the fastest lap of the race, 131.248mph, he arrived at his second pit stop over 12 seconds clear of new second placed man Anstey, the Kiwi having overhauled Martin over the Mountain. Dunlop slipped back to sixth though, the Kawasaki rider having overshot Ballacraine, and this allowed Amor and Cameron Donald to move up to fourth and fifth.
With a relatively comfortable lead, McGuinness had again shown his class and he was able to control the race over the remaining two laps. His lead reached 15 seconds at one stage but he eased back on the final lap to take another superb TT victory, Martin again having to settle for the bridesmaid position. Anstey was again over 130mph on his final lap and he took a safe third.
Behind though, the battle for fourth went all the way to the flag and although Amor posted his first ever 130mph+ lap on his final circuit, it was Donald who prevailed by the tiny margin of just one second after 226 miles of racing! Dunlop regrouped to take sixth with Johnson’s successful TT campaign ending with a solid seventh place finish. William Dunlop had a strong ride into 8th with James Hillier and Michael Rutter completing the top ten.
The first privateer to finish was also the best newcomer, Simon Andrews taking a superb 11th place, which included a 125mph+ lap, the second fastest ever lap by a TT debutante.
With two wins and four podiums, McGuinness was the comfortable winner of the overall TT Championship taking the Joey Dunlop Trophy by 31 points from Amor and Martin. Finally, in the race for the Privateers Championship, it was Ian Mackman who took the trophy, his second place in today’s Senior giving him a total of 81 points, 23 ahead of Mark Buckley with Ben Wylie in third.