The final day of racing at the Isle of Man TT is usually set by two extremes: the “beginner class” Lightweight TT and the blue-ribbon event, the Senior TT.
The rules for the Bennetts Lightweight TT are pretty simple, bikes with two-cylinders, no bigger than 650cc, and the riders must perform at least one pit stop during the three-lap race.
This means that pit stop strategy is king for the Lightweight riders, and the shuffling of positions adds a bit of drama to the usually tight racing already found on the course.
The man to beat in the Lightweight TT class is Ryan Farquhar, one of the top privateer riders at the TT (if not, the top privateer). Farquhar is responsible for tuning and building many of the top Kawasaki race bikes on the Lightweight TT grid as well, though other brands and builders have started to find competitiveness in the class.
Not to spoil the results for the Senior TT, but Friday would see records drop at the Isle of Man, and we start that trend off first in the Bennetts Lightweight TT.
Things boded well for James Hillier in the Lightweight TT, as he was the fastest through Glen Helen on the first lap, the first timing station of the race. He was followed by Ivan Lintin, behind by only 1.5 seconds, with Ryan Farquhar and Lee Johnston just behind him.
The order would change at Ramsey though, with Lintin and Farquhar getting past Hillier, pushing him to third. By the end of Lap 1, Lintin would lead Farquhar by 1.7 seconds, with an impressive 119.078 mph lap from a standing start.
The bulk of riders chose after Lap 1 to take their pit stops, including Lintin and Farquhar. As usual, the cruise down the pits meant the order would change, but no one would have suspected that Farquhar would get hit with a 30-second penalty for speeding in pit lane. The mandatory stop would also claim Gary Johnson, who retired from the race, in the pits.
By the time the riders went through Glen Helen again, it was a surprise by Jamie Hamilton, who was leading the charge as he had not pitted after Lap 1. Slow to start, Hamilton’s lead would not last, and was only three seconds ahead of Lintin at the first timing station on the second lap — not enough of a gap for his position to stick, and Lintin would again take over by Ramsey.
Lap 2 would claim the hopes of Ryan Farquhar, who had to retire at Cronk-y-Voddy, thus shifting the order to Lintin, Hamilton, Hillier, Johnston, Russell, and Rutter.
Hamilton would drop from the group as he took his mandatory pit stop after Lap 2, and Johnston was forced to retire at Ballacraine, thus promoting Michael Rutter into the third position.
That would be the order of things across the finish line for the Top 3, as Ivan Lintin took RC Express Racing’s second consecutive Lightweight TT race win (Dean Harrison rode for them last year), joined on the podium by James Hillier and Michael Rutter, who was riding the Patton S1.
Both Lintin and Hillier topped the old lap record in that final lap, with Hillier posting a new top lap of 120.848 mph (Lintin lapped a 120.845 mph).
It’s worth mentioning Mark Miller’s fantastic ride, which saw the American start from 31st, and ended up finishing eighth overall — a very impressive improvement.
Source: IOMTT; Photo: © 2015 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved