Isle of Man TT: Bruce Anstey wins Superbike opener

James Hillier, winner Bruce Anstey and Ian Hutchinson after the Superbike race
James Hillier, winner Bruce Anstey and Ian Hutchinson after the Superbike race

Bruce Anstey secured his 10th Isle of Man TT victory by winning a thrilling six-lap Superbike race.

The New Zealander overhauled long-time leader Ian Hutchinson after the pit-stops at the end of the fourth lap to clinch his first 'big bike' success.

Padgett's Honda rider Anstey's winning margin was 10.97 seconds, the Kiwi setting a new race record.

James Hillier completed the podium after Michael Dunlop crashed without serious injury while lying third.

Dunlop was brought back in an ambulance and limped back to the paddock after coming off close to the finish of the opening race of TT week.

The other rider involved was Scott Wilson, who is understood to have suffered a shoulder injury.

As the race was then red-flagged around the course, the positions from seventh onwards were awarded according to the riders' place at the end of the fifth lap.

Anstey, 45, also set the fastest lap of the day at 131.977mph on his final circuit.

"I can't believe it - I've been waiting a long time for this," said a delighted Anstey after the race.

"I almost ran into Michael on the last lap, which put me off my rhythm a bit, but I managed to get my head together again.

"I've won all the other classes but this is the one I wanted. The bike ran perfectly."

Hutchinson led on each of the first four laps and looked on course for a fairytale victory after undergoing 30 operations on his leg since a major crash at Silverstone in 2010, the same year he claimed five of his eight TT wins.

"It's been so long since I raced competitively round here it cost me a wee bit," commented the softly-spoken Yorkshireman.

"I smoothed out a bit on the fourth lap just when Bruce was starting to push hard and I ended up chasing," continued the 35-year-old.

Hampshire rider Hillier finished 48.5 seconds in arrears of Hutchinson on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, with John McGuinness fourth on his Honda, William Dunlop fifth on the Tyco BMW and Michael Rutter sixth.

Bruce Anstey
Bruce Anstey on his way to a first Superbike victory at the Isle of Man TT races.
Bruce Anstey
The victory from Anstey's 10th at the Isle of Man TT and his first in the class.

Deprived of practice time on his BMW after switching from the Milwaukee Yamaha team on the Thursday of practice week, Michael Dunlop increased his lap speeds as the race went on and joined Anstey in crashing through the 131mph barrier on his fourth circuit.

Ultimately, the 26-year-old Northern Irishman came off just a short distance from the finishing line after colliding with another rider, causing the red flags to come out.

There was disappointment for Guy Martin, who retired early on the first lap, while Manxman Conor Cummins called it a day at Kirk Michael on lap four.

Lincolnshire GBmoto Kawasaki hope Gary Johnson crashed at the Guthries section but was reported to have walked away relatively unscathed.

Delays caused by a road traffic accident have resulted in a further rescheduling of the race programme.

The sidecar race will start at 13:30 BST on Monday with the Supersport event moved to 18:30.

The Superstock race has been switched to Tuesday afternoon, with a start time to be confirmed.

Monday's schedule has been changed with the first sidecar race at 11:15 BST, followed by the Superstock event at 1:15 and the opening Supersport race at 18:30.

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