2022 Isle of Man TT
Supersport TT Race Two
By Ben McCook
Michael Dunlop clinched his 2nd Supersport race win of the week at the TT after another enthralling battle with Peter Hickman. The victory is the 21st of the Ballymoney man’s career and he now sits just 5 behind his uncle Joey in the all-time standings. The 2-lap sprint saw Dunlop and Hickman involved in a rematch of Wednesday’s twins classic, but this time Dunlop went the distance and took the victory by 3s. Dean Harrison came home in 3rd Roughly 20s back, somewhat off-the-boil in less-than-perfect conditions.
This Monster energy Supersport race 2 had originally been due to run on Wednesday afternoon. However, the Manx weather had been playing games since shortly after the conclusion of the Twins TT and after it was rescheduled for Thursday and then canceled, the race finally got under way at 10:45 on Friday morning.
As always, John McGuinness (who under ‘beer pressure’ from Davey Todd and others got a tattoo the night before celebrating his 100th TT at this year’s races) got things underway at no. 1. However, for whatever reason, McPint was not on the pace and Dean Harrison had already caught and passed him on the road by Greeba.
At Glen Helen Dunlop lead Harrison by 1.9s. But when Hickman came through (there is always a wait to see where the number 10 slots in) it was reported that the leaders could barely be separated. That first-time check set the theme for the whole race.
Harrison would never challenge them and slowly dropped away from the leaders as the race developed, comfortable in 3rd but out of race win contention. Behind him, Davey Todd, Jamie Coward and Lee Johnston were scrapping it out for 4th.
The pair at the front were setting an unbelievable pace given the conditions. Damp roads and strong winds were causing issues all-round the mountain circuit; However, that didn’t seem to bother Dunlop and Hickman as they went head-to-head.
It was fractions of a second at every split with MD always just in front. The pace was frantic. When it stretched out to 0.9s at the Bungalow on L1, Manx Radio’s commentator Chris Kinley obviously needed a moment to gather his thoughts, ‘we’ll call it a second’ he cried. His excitement only added to the occasion.
There was no pit stops in this 40 min sprint and the leaders went straight through at the grandstand at the end of lap 1. All except for Lee Johnston. The 2019 winner has had a tough week and that continued when he pulled after contesting for a top 6 position.
‘I’ve been struggling with my eyes all week’ he admitted in pitlane. “I tried different eye-drops today but 5 miles in I knew I couldn’t see properly. I promised the team if it wasn’t any better, I would pull in- that was the rule. I have no interest in 5th or 6th”.
The Fermanagh man’s revelations explaining a lot after a poor TT by his standards.
Ex-racer, (now on microphone duties) Mark Miller described Michael Dunlop as ‘using all the road’ at Ballacraine on the 2nd circuit. By Glen Helen the gap was 1.8s but minutes later at Ballaugh, Hickman had clawed back half a second. Was this the Hickman charge? Dunlop had grabbed a few tenths back by Ramsey and at that stage (in poor conditions) the pair were on lap record pace….
However, the Trooper Triumph was catching James Hillier on the road (who was now in 6th) and it was noted that that could be good or bad for Hickman depending on where he caught the no. 5. Miller reckoned that if Hickman caught Hillier anywhere but the Mountain mile it would hinder him.
And that may well have been the case. For the lead went out to 2.7s at the Bungalow and was 3 on the button at Cronk-ny-Mona. In the end Dunlop took the win by 3.2s to secure a famous double, denying his rival the chance of equaling Ian Hutchinson’s famous five wins in a week of 2010. Harrison completed the podium 21s back but 18s up on 4th.
In the end, Davey Todd slotted in behind Harrison with Jamie Coward in 5th 6s back. Conor Cummins sneaked into 6th.
Michael Dunlop – P2
“It’s been a hard week – tight going.” Said Dunlop. “But I’ve always said when the jobs right, I’m right. I thought Pete’s bike would pull better up the mountain because of his engine, but my wee doll just kept going and I just rode a bit harder.”
Peter Hickman – P3
“Really strong wind. I was just trying to get tucked in… the aero on the Triumph is not quite as good the Yam and Kawa- especially with me on it.”
Dunlop’s final lap was just 6s shy of the lap record which is quite unbelievable given the conditions.
Rennie Skysbrook finished in 37th; which is fairly consistent with where he has been placing on the timesheets all week. Rennie spoke to Manx radio directly after the race.
Rennie Skysbrook – P37
“It’s a very windy Isle of Man, but that’s all part of it. Hailwood Heights and the correctly named Windy corner were bad. I was focused on catching a black r6 rider but forgot to back off for Crosby – that got a bit squirrelly. But I’m just glad I got through to the end – bikes in one piece, I’m in one piece.. it’s time to relax.”
The Senior will now take place at 11am on Saturday. There had been some doubt over whether it could ahead due to a lack of Marshalls (many are due to leave the island tonight or in the morning) but after an appeal, enough were found and the blue riband race will close TT 2022 after all. Glenn Irwin shared the news that his brothers Andrew and Graeme were amongst those who answered the call to help out. The fastest newcomer of all time will hope to lap at 130mph during the race.
2022 Isle of Man TT
Supersport TT Race Two Results
- Michael Dunlop – Yamaha
- Peter Hickman – Triumph
- Dean Harrison – Kawasaki
- Davey Todd – Honda
- Jamie Coward – Yamaha
- Conor Cummins – Honda
- James Hillier – Yamaha
- Dominic Herbertson – Kawasaki
- Mike Browne – Yamaha
- Paul Jordan – Yamaha
37. Rennie Skysbrook – Suzuki