The late evening practice sessions have finally given way to the mid-day races at the Isle of Man, and that means that the 2014 Isle of Man TT has started in earnest. As always, the Dainese Superbike TT was the opening event, which is just the perfect way to start the TT…with the big toys on the Mountain Course, right?
This year’s event brings all sorts of questions. Will Michael Dunlop continue the domination he began back in 2013? Or will John McGuinness reclaim his crown, and make further progress into besting Joey Dunlop’s outright TT race win record? How about fan favorite Guy Martin, and his hunt for his first Isle of Man TT race win? Thankfully, some of those answers can begin to come forthwith.
With all the changes he’s had for the 2014, it still comes as a surprise to see Michael Dunlop on the top step of the Isle of Man TT podium assembly. Switching from Honda to BMW earlier this year, after nearly sitting out the road racing season, Dunlop also made a surprise switch from Metzler to Dunlop tires, during the TT practice sessions.
The BMW S1000RR and Michael Dunlop seemed to resonate well, as they had been during the practice and qualifying sessions, with the nephew of Joey being able to put a quick 20 seconds between himself and Guy Martin, and holding that advantage throughout the race.
Martin would gain and lose a second on that gap to Dunlop, but ultimately couldn’t close back the gap to Dunlop. Saying at the race’s finish that “it was all him,” Martin had no complaints for his crew or machine, and insisted the difference in results came down to the rider, with full-credit to Michael Dunlop. Martin said he had no more to give on the bike.
Martin had strong contention from behind, as Manx-man Conor Cummins was only 2.9 seconds behind Martin for a good portion of the race. “Conrod” had the whole Isle cheering for him, but in the end had nothing for Guy Martin at the final crossing of the Grandstand finish line.
In a notable fourth was Bruce Anstey, who set a new outright lap record for the Isle of Man TT, putting down a solid 132.298 mph lap.
In a surprising 7th place was John McGuinness, who has struggled with his pace all throughout the practice sessions. Despite the great start to the 2014 IOMTT, this year is not looking like a banner year for McPint, but there is still a lot of racing yet to come.
Photo: © 2014 Richard Mushet / Mushet Photo – All Rights Reserved