ISLE OF MAN – Clear blue skies and sunshine on Monday evening meant the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races got underway at last and Bruce Anstey set the pace at 127.473 mph, just edging out fellow Honda rider John McGuinness.
Action around the Mountain Course commenced with the newcomers completing their controlled laps after the cancellation of Saturday’s session. Richard Quayle led the first group of three away, Peter Hickman, Laurent Hoffmann and Martin Jessopp, followed by the recently retired Ian Lougher with Phil Crowe, Vick de Cooremeter and Alan Bonner, and finally John Barton with Danny Webb, Dan Kruger and Callum Laidlaw for company.
Shortly before 7 p.m. it was the turn of the ‘big boys’ with William and Michael Dunlop leading the field away followed by Michael Rutter and Guy Martin, Dan Kneen and James Hillier, Ian Mackman and Josh Brookes, David Johnson and Steve Mercer and Lee Johnston and Ian Hutchinson. All were on their Superbike machines with the exception of William Dunlop and Mackman who opted for their Superstock mounts.
McGuinness left the line in the 11th pairing but two men who ran into trouble on their opening laps were Martin who was soon back in the pits and going out on his Superstock machine and Dan Stewart who wasn’t so fortunate, being stuck out at Douglas Road Corner, Kirk Michael for the session.
Michael Dunlop was the first man to complete a lap at 125.265 mph followed by brother William (122.461 mph), Rutter (122.789 mph) and Kneen (123.580 mph). McGuinness was on the pace at 123.641 mph as was Gary Johnson, who left the line mid-pack, at 124.513 mph.