Believe it or not the last time bikes or sidecars were on the TT circuit and racing was last Tuesday (it is now Sunday).
Today was meant to a rest day in race week, however due to continued and persistent inclement weather it was a practice day and only the third of the event. Practice seasons had been cancelled on Wednesday, along with double sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Clerk of Course has had to deal with nightmare weather issues, but to be fair has been open and honest, even posting regular videos on Twitter to show us the conditions that he was basing his decisions on, and I think it is fair to say every decision has been the right one.
Today even though the weather started off in the same vain the Met Office had apparently given their word a break in the weather was due that would give a window big enough to get some practice and qualifying sessions in. The decision was made to go ahead with the road closure and it turned out to be the right decision. That weather window did come and we got some bikes on the track!
Side cars were the first out on the road. The Silicone Barnes Racing Honda team, John Holden and Lee Cain, set the pace with a lap of 114.99mph. Ben and Tom Birchall lapped at 114.93mph to finish second overall.
Conor Cummins continued his great from from earlier in the week setting the the pace in the Superbike qualifying class on his ‘Milenco by Padgetts’ Honda, lapping at 128.92mph. Dean Harrison was second fastest on his Silicone Engineering Racing machine with a lap 128.29mph. Honda’s David Johnson was third for the day with 128.24mph. Michael Rutter was forth quickest at 127.55mph and Jamie Coward fifth with a lap of 127.22mph.
Michael Dunlop retired on his Tyco BMW Superbike on the Mountain Road and msissed the rest of the session.
Peter Hickman was close to lapping at 130mph on his Superstock machine. Conor Cummins was second in the session at 127.17mph. Gary Johnson took third s with 124.97mp. James Hillier was fourth fastest with 124.33mph and Michael Rutter fifth with an average speed of 123.53mph over the 37.73 mile lap. rounded out the top five.
The Supersports finally got another chance today and Lee Johnston took the fastest lap, registering 122.93mph on his Ashcourt Racing’s Yamaha R6. Gary Johnson took the second quickest time on his Triumph lapping at 122.59mph. James Hillier was third with a 122.02mph lap and Jamie Coward at 121.33mph took fourth. Dean Harrison was up there completing the top five with a lap of 121.17mph. This supersport category is shaping up to be a great race with 1.8mph separating the top five at this stage of qualifying.
The (controversial) TT Zero machines got their first outing today and Mugen showed their continued dominance with Michael Rutter lapping at 117.16mph. The nearest rival, Ian Lougher lapped at 95.36mph.