POSITIVE CLASSIC TT FOR ANSTEY AND CUMMINS
The Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Racing team were back in action on the famous Isle of Man Mountain Course over the weekend for the annual Classic TT races and Bruce Anstey ensured it was another highly successful time on the island as he swept to victory in Saturday’s Lightweight race.
The Kiwi dominated the race from start to finish on his RS250 Honda as he posted the fastest ever 250cc lap seen around the Mountain Course, his second lap speed of 118.774mph finally breaking former Valvoline Racing rider John McGuinness’ speed of 118.29mph which was set way back in 1999.
Anstey led from the word go, pulling away from nearest rival Ian Lougher by considerable margins at each and every timing point. An opening lap of 117.170mph gave him a 16.9s lead over Lougher but his near 119mph lap second time around saw that shoot up to 43s and he eventually won by over a minute from the Welshman. It was the 47-year old’s second Classic TT win after taking victory in the 2014 Formula One race.
On Monday, it was the turn for the four-lap Classic Superbike TT race where Bruce was on the 1992 YZR500 Yamaha and joined by Conor Cummins on the team’s ex-Rob McElnea 1989 750cc OW01 Yamaha. An opening lap of 122.033mph saw Bruce in eighth place but Conor fared worse as he was black flagged at Brandywell which dropped him down the order to 26th although he was later credited with the lost time.
Second time around and Bruce improved his pace to 123.810mph to move up to seventh whilst Conor was up to 13th and both riders improved further still on the third lap to fifth and 12th respectively. However, Bruce’s race ended on the fourth lap when he was forced to retire at Glentramman and so it was left to Manxman Cummins to uphold the honour of the team as he eventually took a fine eighth place, aided by two near 121mph laps.
Bruce Anstey: “The Lightweight race wasn’t too bad was it? With Ian starting ten seconds behind me, I knew he’d be a threat so my plan was to get my head down straightaway so he couldn’t see me and the plan worked. Track conditions were perfect although it was quite windy out there and I was struggling a bit with the gearing, especially top gear. I really enjoyed the race and it was great to be back out on a 250.”
“I love riding the two-strokes and was really looking forward to the Superbike race on the 500 but we hadn’t had much time on the bike during practice week and it took me a while to get going. I’d worked my way up to fifth and was hopeful of a decent finish but it wasn’t to be so we’ll be back next year for another try.”
Conor Cummins: “I’d never seen the bike before practice week but Clive and the whole team worked their magic again and it was a pleasure to ride the bike. It was a shame about the black flag but the marshals were doing their job and it was just a precaution so to end the race in eighth is pleasing. I got the lost time back and whilst it’s a shame Bruce had his DNF, I’m pleased to have got a finish for the whole team as they’ve all worked so hard. I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been great fun.”
Clive Padgett: “It’s been a fantastic week and to win the 250cc Lightweight race is really special especially as Bruce won the last TT race back in 2002. What a man he is – he can certainly ride a motorbike, the Lightweight race and performance was phenomenal. The lap record wasn’t something we aimed for I’m but chuffed to have it and to lap not only quicker than what he did in 2002 but also quicker than John’s lap record was stunning. It’s very difficult to build the bikes now and we were buying parts off the internet and all sorts”
“We’re really chuffed with how Conor rode and to lap at close to 121mph on his last lap was pleasing. We’re thrilled to bits and have loved every minute of it. Hopefully, Conor will have learnt a few things about the course for next year’s TT too. Obviously, it’s a shame Bruce retired but he was running in fifth and, at the end of the day, the bike’s over 20 years old – we’re all going home safe and that’s the main thing. Overall, it’s been a tremendous week and a tremendous event – at the moment, the Classic TT is the best event in the world.”
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