The Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda team enjoyed a superb day’s racing at the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday with Bruce Anstey taking yet another win for the team, this time in the opening Supersport 600cc race.
It was the Kiwis 12th Ulster Grand Prix victory in total and extended his sequence of finishing on the podium at least once every year since making his debut back in 2003. And to make it an even better day for the team, Conor Cummins finished in third to put both CBR600RR Honda’s on the podium.
The duo had earlier taken fifth and tenth in the Superstock race, where Cummins was the first past the chequered flag, before finishing a close fourth and fifth in the second Supersport encounter when just 1.4s covered the leading quintet.
Anstey, meanwhile, also had two outings in the Superbike races where he was riding the RCV213-S MotoGP replica machine. On both occasions, the 47-year old battled for the lead and he was unlucky to hit backmarkers in the wrong places in the seven-lap feature race which prevented him from getting a good run on eventual race winner Ian Hutchinson. It was close though as he was only 0.274s adrift at the chequered flag whilst he also lapped at 133.743mph.
In the second Superbike race, held over the slightly shorter distance of six laps, it was a similar story as Bruce, Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop again fought tooth and nail for the entire race distance. Indeed, for much of the race there was little more than a second covering the leading six riders although it all came down to a last lap battle between the leading three.
Hutchinson would again win the race, this time by 0.8s, as he also bettered Bruce’s six year old outright lap record but Bruce himself lapped at 133.913mph, a phenomenal achievement on a bike that only turned a wheel for the first time in June and was seeing the Dundrod circuit for the first ever time. Including his victory in Thursday’s Dundrod 150 race, it meant Bruce ended the week with two wins and two seconds to his name to ensure it was another successful visit to the Ulster Grand Prix.
Bruce Anstey: “I can’t complain at all about how today’s gone and we’ve had a great set of results. In the first 600cc race, I knew I had to try and make a break from Hutchy although slight drizzle beforehand certainly made the first lap a bit exciting! I was extra careful through Deer’s Leap after being caught out there last year and once we got the first lap out the way, conditions were perfect. I didn’t get much dry time on the bike in practice but I was delighted to get another UGP win.”
“In the Superbike races, I got held up a bit by backmarkers towards the end of the first race and that prevented me from having a real go at Hutchy. The bike was working really well although in the second race I was struggling for grip a bit in first, second and third gears. Hutchy was getting away from me out of the corners but once I got to fourth, fifth and sixth, I was able to start reeling him back in. I’ve got to be pleased with a win and a pair of seconds today though – it’s not bad for an old man is it??!!”
Conor Cummins: “It’s been a brilliant day for me and whilst it’s great to get a podium on the 600, I was most pleased with my Superstock result. The Ulster’s the fastest road race in the world and we’ve shown with fifth place today just how good the Honda Fireblade is. Riding is the easy part but the team have put together a great package for me and we were always in the mix.”
“Clive and the team got me out of a bit of a hole just before the TT and I’ve had two really good meetings. I knew they’d give me what I needed which is exactly what they’ve done and I’ve really enjoyed my time with them. The results I’ve had on the Valvoline Racing machines have been superb – they’ve got me competitive and back up at the front which is just what I needed.”
Clive Padgett, Team Owner: “We’re absolutely over the moon with today’s results at the Ulster Grand Prix and to have practically every bike finish in the top five is an excellent achievement for the whole team. Taking first and third in the Superstock race was pleasing as was being first and second quickest through the speed trap. Conor’s shown what a good 600cc rider he is and we’ve been really pleased not only to put him back on the map but also with how well he’s gelled with the team.”
“Bruce has again proven what a phenomenal talent he is. We made a few changes to the RCV after the TT and although we didn’t get much dry practice, Bruce lapped at 133.9mph which showed just how good a motorcycle it is. The bike’s developed a bit more, we’ve learnt a bit more and the fans have loved seeing it go round the Dundrod circuit so it’s been a superb day for everyone.”
Click thumbnails to preview and download.