Two out of three for Kawasaki in Superstock TT
A thrilling Superstock race on Monday 4 June ended with two of the three podium places filled by Kawasaki riders.
With both Michael Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar Ninja ZX-10R mounted, the prospect for podium places looked promising before the delayed race started in the early evening. With some parts of the course bathed in sunshine while others - particularly under the tree cover – appreciably darker, the race was led by TT stalwart John McGuiness on lap one with KMR Kawasaki rider, Farquhar, tucked in behind on his 2010 and threatening at several points to push himself to the top of the leader board.
Crossing the line at the end of lap one, Ryan on his familiar 2010 TT bike was just a few tenths of a second down on McGuiness and one of four Kawasaki riders in the top ten with Rutter in fifth, Hillier in sixth and Michael Dunlop over ten seconds awry in eighth place.
By the close of the second lap, Ryan had consolidated his second place and set about rebuffing the challenge of highly experienced team mate to McGuiness, Bruce Ansty. Just behind the Kiwi, the figure of Dunlop loomed large on the time sheets having elevated himself from eighth to forth on the opening circulation of the 37 ¾ mile course. With highly experienced Rutter holding station in sixth and the rapidly improving James Hillier in seventh, the third lap started still with a strong showing of Kawasaki machinery in the leading group and Dunlop on a charge.
So it was then that Ansty succumbed to the pressure from respected TT winner Dunlop and ceded third place to him making the chances of a Kawasaki podium all the more stronger. Farquhar used all his considerable race-craft to try to edge a little closer to McGuiness and, in doing so, try to gap Dunlop who showed no signs of slowing.
Finally the Grandstand came into view for the leading riders and McGuiness crossed the world famous white stripe to take his 19th Isle of Man TT win. Despite his best efforts, Ryan had to give best to Dunlop who rode a characteristically hard race on his 2012 Ninja ZX-10R to finish second with Farquhar on the final step of the podium in third place.
Speaking at the end of the day, Ryan said; "To get a podium in the Superstock race is like a dream come true and although it's a shame I couldn't hold onto second, I'm still over the moon with the result. I really enjoyed the race and although I didn't get the best of starts, I managed to stay in touch with John and could see him in the distance at a number of places around the course so knew we were pretty even. He began to edge away from me so I concentrated on staying in second but in the final lap, my feet started slipping off the pegs due to an oil leak so I just rode as hard and as steady as I could.
It was a hard old race and with sweat running down my forehead, it was getting tricky to see properly especially with the evening sun getting lower in the sky. It was really bad in some places, especially Gorse Lea where I had to 50 pence the corner, but I kept going and although I thought I'd got second, Michael just pipped me. I take my hat off to John for the way he rode at the head of the field and to be sitting here next to him and Michael is something I'm very proud of.
Everyone works so hard so it's good to repay everyone with a TT podium. Finally, I'd like to pass on my best wishes to John Holden who had a spill in the sidecar practice, I was very grateful for his help so hopefully he'll be on the mend soon."
Despite changeable weather conditions affecting qualify ...
For many riders and fans, the North West 200 road race ...