Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Before The Real Action Starts - We Wait

Qualifying for the 2011 Isle of Man TT Races got underway on Monday evening and although conditions were far from ideal, both the solos and sidecars were able to get in two laps although the solo’s had begun a third lap when the session was red flagged early due to heavy rain on the Mountain.

The damp conditions could clearly be seen in the opening lap times with Klaffenbock quickest at 107.407mph followed by Neary at 106.971mph and Elmer at 103.234mph. Second time around and road conditions improved slightly allowing Klaffenbock to move up to 110.911mph and Elmer to 106.977mph.

At 7.30pm, the solos were out on the course and rider liaison officers John Barton and Richard Quayle escorted Simon Andrews, Dean Harrison, Daniel Hegarty, Piotr Betlej, Robert Wilson and Lee Vernon for their sighting lap before the main contenders got their first taste of the Mountain Course this year.

It was Michael Dunlop and Guy Martin who got the session underway at 7.50pm, the Northern Irishman out on his Superstock machine and the Lincolnshire man opting for his Superbike. Following them were Bruce Anstey, Adrian Archibald, Paul Owen, Ian Mackman, Luis Carreira and Ryan Farquhar, the latter having his first outing on his new Superbike mount.

Meanwhile Honda team-mates John McGuinness and Keith Amor were two of the last to leave the line with Michael Rutter only getting as far as the end of pitlane before returning back to the paddock on his Ducati Superstock bike. The BSB star had earlier received a medical as soon as he reached the paddock after his spill at Thruxton earlier in the day.

Second time around and McGuinness and Amor, who spent the first two laps circulating in close formation, moved to the top of the early Superbike leaderboard with laps of 122.838mph and 122.637mph with Anstey sandwiching the pair on his Superstock at 122.752mph but Martin was in trouble, pushing in to the top of pitlane. Dunlop, who swapped his Superstock bike for his Superbike machine was also in trouble, pulling off the course at Crosby and making his way back to the paddock via the back roads.

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