Kiwi Bruce Anstey won one of the most thrilling races in Isle of Man TT history when he won the Supersport TT today by just .77 of a second from Cameron Donald.
Once long time leader Michael Dunlop retired on the third lap, there was never more than a couple of seconds between Anstey, Donald and Gary Johnson with only the smallest margin – .62 of a second – separating the trio at Ramsey Hairpin on the final lap. However, Johnson ran out of fuel on the final drop down the Mountain and Anstey’s final lap of 126.634 mph was enough for him to come home for his ninth TT win – 10 years after his first back in 2002.
A road traffic accident caused a two-hour delay to the proceeding but when it did start it was the two Dunlops, Michael and William, who were fastest out of the blocks. Michael led through Glen Helen on the opening lap – albeit by just .25 of a second and, in typical Supersport fashion, it was close across the top 10. Johnson was in third, 1.5 seconds adrift, and he was followed by Donald, Anstey, Ryan Farquhar and John McGuinness with just a further 1.5 seconds splitting third to seventh.
Irish eyes were smiling on Michael Dunlop though at the head of the field and with the fastest lap of the race, 126.948 mph, his lead increased to almost 22 seconds at half race distance. Johnson took over the runner-up spot when they came into the pits to refuel and William was still in third with Anstey now up to fourth ahead of Donald.
Things began to change on the third lap and when Michael Dunlop was reported late at Glen Helen, it handed the lead to Johnson with an advantage of 3.5 seconds over new second-placed man Donald. Anstey was another second behind and William Dunlop a similar gap behind in fourth. Then news came through that Michael Dunlop had stopped at Ballig Bridge.
Johnson was in trouble though and as he ran out of fuel on the drop down the Mountain, he pushed in to eventually finish in 28th place and William Dunlop took advantage to clinch the final podium spot, his first top three finish around the Mountain Course. Farquhar overtook McGuinness as he circulated with Donald, but the Irishman also ran out of fuel on the final lap at Creg ny Baa and so McGuinness took fourth ahead of James Hillier, who recorded his best-ever TT finish.
The results mean Anstey now leads the TT Championship with 41 points closely followed by Donald on 40 and McGuinness on 38.