Manx Grand Prix: Michael Dunlop roars to Classic Superbike victory

Michael Dunlop roared to victory with a new lap record in Monday's Manx Grand Prix Classic Superbike race.

The 34-year-old put on a charge despite mechanical problems to finish the race 43 seconds ahead of David Johnson in a race shortened from four laps to three.

The Ballymoney man had been in a fierce battle with Bradford's Dean Harrison in the first half of the race, before the Bradford rider was forced to retire.

Dunlop set a new lap record speed of 126.681mph on his final circuit.

Wigan's Rob Hodson made up the top three podium places, two seconds down on Australian Johnson.

Harrison took an early leading, pulling out a gap of 2.5 seconds from Team Classic Suzuki rider Dunlop by Ballaugh.

The Ballymoney man had reeled that back to 1.8 seconds by Ramsey, narrowing his deficit further to just 0.5 by the end of the opening lap.

Johnson slotted in to third place coming into the pits for a mandatory pitstop at the end of the lap, nine seconds back on Harrison and six ahead of nearest rival Hodson, with Tramore's Brian McCormack a further seven seconds in arrears.

Despite a slightly slower pitstop for Dunlop, lap two saw the Northern Irishman eke out a 0.1-second lead on Harrison by Glen Helen on lap two, extending it to 2.5 seconds by Ballaugh.

That lead was stretched to six seconds by Ramsey but there was disappointment for Harrison when his Ducati suffered a blown engine on the approach to Brandywell on the Snaefell mountain section of the 37.75-mile (60km) course.

At the start of the final circuit, Dunlop crossed the line half a minute ahead of his nearest rival Johnson, as the Adelaide man found himself in a battle for third place, Hodson having closed the gap to three seconds.

McCormack started the lap with a firm grip on fourth place thanks to a 30-second lead over Blessington's Derek Sheils, who was in his own battle with Magherafelt's Paul Jordan for fifth.

Dunlop took the win with a blistering final lap at 126.681mph, obliterating the MGP lap record for the class with a time of 17 minutes, 52.209 seconds.

Speaking to Manx Radio, Dunlop said issues with his Suzuki meant he "was going to pull in the first lap" because the "bike wasn't working".

"I had to go back to old school riding," he said.

Despite the problems, he said the team had "pulled it off today".

Johnson finished the race 43 seconds behind Dunlop on his Kawasaki, with Rob Hodson two seconds back, also on Kawasaki machinery.

McCormack was fourth, 27 seconds behind Hodson, with Manxman Nathan Harrison, Lincolnshire's Craig Neve, Jordan, Sheils, Banbridge's Shaun Anderson, and France's Amalric Blanc making up the top 10.