ISLE OF MAN – Ian Lougher, riding the Team Flitwick Paton that Olie Linsdell rode to victory in last year’s race, took top honors in the Bennetts 500cc Classic TT Race on the Isle of Man Saturday.
The Welshman overcame a 30 second pit lane penalty in the process after John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar and Michael Rutter all retired when leading.
After a delayed start due to wet roads, the first Race of the Isle of Man Classic TT presented by Bennetts finally roared into life. John McGuinness was first away on the Team Winfield Paton with Mick Godfrey, a replacement for the injured John Barton, on the Dunnell Racing Norton 10 seconds behind him.
With last year’s race winner Olie Linsdell a late withdrawal with a cracked frame, all eyes were on John McGuinness and the Morecambe missile powered into an eight second lead over Flitwick Motorcycles rider Ian Lougher at the first timing checkpoint at Glen Helen, with McGuinness’s teammate Ryan Farquhar holding third place, less than a second behind Lougher.
However McGuinness retired at Ginger Hall with a front brake problem, leaving Lougher to move to the front. Other early retirements on the opening lap included William Dunlop at Ballacraine and Roy Richardson at Appledene while Alan Oversby also stopped at Braddan Bridge although he did continue after making adjustments.
Farquhar hit the front and established a 2.5 second lead over Lougher by Ramsey with Dan Cooper on the Specialised Glazing Solutions Team Molnar Manx Norton moving into the top three, 20 seconds behind the race leader.
Both Farquhar and Lougher were the only riders who elected to pit for refueling at the end of the first lap with Farquhar’s 109.826 mph lap giving him a lead of almost six and a half seconds over Lougher. However Lougher incurred a 30 second penalty for speeding in the pits, which dropped him to eighth.