After an epic 5 races yesterday the Clerk of the Course made another well informed decision to start things off early. With a ‘Yellow Warning’ for rain over the Isle of Man in force for the afternoon of 7th June 2019 a call was made to start things off early. The plan was put in place for a 10:00am start with the intention of running a full six lap Senior TT.
With the mandatory delay – only a wee one though – things got underway at 10:15am.
For the duration of the race I was live tweeting – if you fancy reading through things as they unfolded just look for the Hashtag #2019SeniorTTLIVE
No Lee Johnston unfortunately for this race as mechanical issues meant he was a non starter.
The two quickest off the start line were – of course – Hickman and Harrison and their duel continued throughout the first lap setting a blistering pace of 133.992mph from Dean Harrison only bettered by Peter Hickman with 134.284mph who took a 2 second lead into the second lap. Remember that 134,284mph is from a standing start on a TT where the amount of track time has been so massively reduced by the weather. Unbelievable stuff really!
Lap 2 for Deano and Hicky was tight, with Deano gaining 0.4s, Hicky stealing 0.1s back from him, then the other 0.3s back. The gap remaining a reasonably constant 2s. It really was some mirror racing until Ramsey were Hicky found another 1.5s to take the lead by 3.5s. Hickman took the fastest speed through the Sulby Straight speed check at 192.8mph. By the end of lap two Hickman and Harrison really were showing their class taking a massive 20 second advantage into lap 3. Even factoring in slowing for the pits Hicky still managed a 134.28mph lap. Michael Dunlop got a bit of time back reducing his gap to fourth to around 5 seconds.
Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman left the pits together at the start of lap 3 and in a show of sportsmanship MD gave Hicky the room to get past. By Glen Helen Hicky had 10 seconds over Deano, Conor Cummins was 21 seconds behind Deano and MD was 11 seconds behind Manx Man Cummins. By Ballaugh Bridge Dean Harrison had clawed half a second back, reducing the gap to Hicky to 9.5 seconds, but by Ramsey Hairpin Hicky had stolen a full second back and led by 10.494 seconds on his approach to the Mountain where he has excelled all of 2019! By the Bungalow the lead was 12.3 seconds and by the Grandstand that gap was 13.486 seconds – an average speed that lap of 126.944mph (which incorporates the first pit stop).
On current form Peter Hickman is just untouchable from Ramsey and over the Mountain.
The fourth lap ends in another pitstop and by Glen Helen Peter Hickman reversed the trend of Dean Harrison being the faster man over this sector and Hicky pushed his lead out to 14 seconds.
Moving away from the top 2 who continued in their swapping of a few fractions of a seconds on the approach to Ramsey and the Mountain. Conor Cummins came into the second pit stop in third 38.438s behind Harrison. Fourth was Michael Dunlop 18.863s behind Cummins. Hiller was 62.673s behind Dunlop. Rutter 10.571s behind Hillier. Gary Johnson 42.230s behind Rutter. Jamie Coward13.558 behind Rutter. Gary Johnson 28.672s behind Coward and tenth place was occupied Mccormick 6.358s behind Jamie Coward.
Going into lap 5 and we are in the section of the race with the only flying lap. Lap 5 will factor in the exit from pit lane but lap 6 is the flier and the one were miracles can happen. It is also the section were back markers can slow up the front runners, so things were definitely shaping up to be a very interesting 75 miles.
By Glen Helen on lap 5 Peter Hickman’s lead over Dean Harrison was reduced to 7.9seconds – somewhere, somehow Hicky lost about 10 seconds and Deano was definitely back in the race. Even more so by Ballaugh Bridge – the lead was a mere 1.1 seconds and the rumour was that Hickman’s bike was possibly overheating. By Ramsey Dean Harrison had the lead by a huge 7.877s. That’s a turn around of 30 seconds in as many miles and surely the news must have filtered through to Conor Cummins who would be eyeing up second and MD music surely have been starting to taste the 3rd step on the podium.
Peter Hickman looked like retiring at the end of lap 5 but fought on into lap 6. He wanted to use his super stock hybrid bike for this race but it was stripped by the scrutineers at the end of the superstock race leaving him no choice other than to take out the superbike – even though the Smith’s Racing Team feared this issue.
At the Grandstand and start of lap 6 Dean Harrison had a 18.4 second lead over Hicky, who had 33 seconds over Cummins. I can only presume that Hicky was going to play this like a game of chess and strategically nurse his superbike round the lap and hope he doesn’t haemorrhage so much time as to gift the second place to Cummins, and even then hope for enough of a buffer to secure the third spot and keep MD off it.
By Ballaugh Bridge Deano has extended his lead to 40.454s over Peter Hickman who had 17.740s over Conor Cummins. Cummins is stealing about 7 seconds a sector from Hicky so things were really close. The sector where Hicky excelled is now the one where he needs to nurse the bike and now over exert that boiling engine.
At Ramsey Hairpin on the final lap Conor Cummins was only 12 seconds behind Hicky. Michael Dunlop was racing 25 seconds behind Cummins and surely both riders were eying up one step higher and one step onto the podium respectively.
For the final sprint from the Bungalow to the finish Hicky held 9 seconds over Cummins. The race belonged to Deano but between Hicky and Cummins it was tight – but Hicky managed it, holding on to second in what was a massive strategic move. When everyone thought he would pull in he carried on and secured the second spot.
Dean Harrison took his first Senior TT win showing excellent racing, never faltering throughout. Six laps of 37.73 miles is a true test of endurance and from start to finish Dean Harrison raced with skill and class, always pushing on, and even when things looked like they were slipping the fact that he was always there or thereabouts and often gaining fractions of a second showed that the desire was always there and he was always pushing. A deserving 2019 Champion.
Excellent racing from Conor Cummins secured third and Michael Dunlop in fourth. James Hillier, Davey Todd, Michael Rutter, Jamie Coward, Gary Johnson and Brian McCormick finished off the top 10.
The Dunlop Senior TT – ‘which I won on a set of Metzelers’Dean Harrison on winning the 2019 Dunlop Senior TT
After a very trying 2019 event the Senior TT Race was a cracker. It had everything – fast laps, quality racing and drama – all tied up with great sportsmanship.
The only thing missing from this Senior TT was the Manx Radio TT Sign Off. We want Manx Radio TT back for 2020!