Molyneux and Anstey lead the charge

26th May 2014
Clear blue skies and sunshine on Monday evening meant the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, got underway at last and Bruce Anstey set the pace at 127.473mph just edging out fellow Honda rider John McGuinness whose best lap was 126.355mph.

Action around the Mountain Course commenced at 18.25 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 7pm 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 followed by brother William (122.461), Rutter (122.789) and Kneen (123.580). McGuinness was on the pace at 123.641 as was Gary Johnson, who left the line mid-pack, at 124.513.

Second time around and McGuinness and Anstey went top of the timesheets at 126.355 and 126.299, the duo circulating in close formation, with Johnson also going quicker than his opening lap at 125.686. The newcomers were also picking up their speed on their second official laps, Jessopp on 109.674 and Hickman 109.039.

With conditions remaining perfect, save for a few reported damp patches at Stella Maris and Ramsey Hairpin, the riders were taking full advantage and getting in their full quota of laps. Anstey made the most of the opportunity, increasing his pace slightly to 126.513mph on his third lap before putting in a late flyer of 127.473mph to go comfortably clear on the opening night.

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