At the Isle of Man TT races, today's qualifying session was a feast for the eyes of speed enthusiasts as Michael Dunlop unofficially pulverized the absolute lap record with his Hawk Racing Honda.  An impressive speed of 135.531mph (218.12 km/h), nearly six tenths faster than Peter Hickman's official record of 135.452mph (218 km/h) set in the 2018 Senior TT race.

But Hickman, on his FHO Racing BMW, was not easily shaken off and put down a 134.91mph (217.11 km/h) lap.  Dean Harrison, on his DAO Racing Kawasaki, wasn’t far behind either, cracking the 134mph mark with 134.216mph (216.00 km/h).

 

Brilliant performance also in the Supertwin class

In the Supertwin class, Dunlop also put in an outstanding performance.  With a start lap speed of 123.474mph (198.70 km/h) on his Paton, he was five seconds faster than earlier in the week and even managed to beat his 2018 official record by six and a half seconds.  And as if that wasn’t enough, he also took the top spot in the Supersport class.

 

Sidecar class opens the sunny afternoon

A beautiful, sunny afternoon began with the Sidecar class.  Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley on their FHO Racing Honda opened the round with a speed of 117.807mph (189.60 km/h).  The Crowes were slightly behind with their Haven Homes Honda and a speed of 116.452mph (187.42 km/h) while the Birchall’s, the previous day’s record breakers, were a comfortable 81.928mph (131.85 km/h) after a stop at Ballacraine.

 

Consistent improvements and rookies impressing

Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes took the next lap at 113.509mph (182.67 km/h), followed by Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde at 112.088mph (180.38 km/h) and John Holden and Maxime Vasseur at 112.046mph (180.32 km/h).  All set their best lap times of the week.  So did Steve and Matty Ramsden with 111.442mph (179.35 km/h) and Daryl Gibson and Tom Christie with 111.148mph (178.87 km/h).  Newcomer Gibson continued to impress, setting his first lap at over 110mph.

 

Supersport/Supertwin session makes headlines

In the Supersport/Supertwin session that followed, it was again Dunlop and Hickman who made the headlines.  Dunlop shattered the Supertwin lap record with a lap speed of 123.474 mph (198.70 km/h) despite a standing start from pit lane.  He pulled out of the race on his second lap at Union Mills, though fared better than Hickman.  The latter only made it as far as Greeba Castle on the first lap.  Although he was able to get another lap in on his Supersport machine, he was unable to qualify for the Supertwin class because he had not registered a time all week.

Dunlop, on the other hand, was 21 seconds faster than Jamie Coward, who posted a speed of 121.08mph (194.84 km/h).  Frenchman Pierre Yves-Bian also scored a respectable third place on his Paton with 119.131mph (191.74 km/h).  Josh Brookes went from strength to strength on the Dafabet Kawasaki, finishing fourth with 118.523mph (190.74 km/h) ahead of Rob Hodson (118.266mph / 190.34 km/h) and Paul Jordan (117.455mph / 189.05 km/h).

 

Dunlop continues to dominate

Returning to pit lane, Dunlop continued to dominate the race on his Supersport machine and also finished this session with a top speed of 127.51mph (205.20 km/h).  Harrison was the only other rider to break the 127mph mark with 127.216mph (204.73 km/h).

 

Superbike/Superstock session rounds out the day

Rounding out the day was the Superbike/Superstock session, with Shaun Anderson (Team Classic Suzuki) leading the field.  Dunlop was immediately on top form, opening with a 134.27mph (216.08 km/h) lap.  Davey Todd (132.194mph / 212.76 km/h) and Harrison (132.123mph / 212.65 km/h) followed him until Hickman, who had started late, overtook them with a lap of 133.195mph (214.35 km/h).

The pace increased tremendously on the second lap as Dunlop put down an impressive lap of 135.531mph (218.12 km/h), more than 1.5mph faster than he had ever gone before.  Hickman was not far behind at 134.910mph (217.11 km/h), with Harrison taking third at 134.216mph (216.00 km/h).

 

Other notable performances

Josh Brookes posted his first 130mph lap of the week at 131.098mph (210.98 km/h) in the later session to finish fifth overall.  Other impressive lap times came from Rob Hodson (129.279mph / 208.06 km/h), who finished eighth in the Superbike class, and James Hind (128.316mph / 206.51 km/h).  Cringle posted a lap of 121.844mph (196.10 km/h).

Few riders put on their Superstock machines, but Todd, who retired on his Superbike on the twelfth lap, was fastest at 131.080mph (210.94 km/h).  Mike Browne continued his strong week, coming perilously close to his first 130mph race with 129.664mph (208.67 km/h).  Rookie Erno Kostamo continued his best lap of the week with 119.806mph (192.81 km/h).

 

In summary, qualifying for the Isle of Man TT races delivered a real speed rush.  Michael Dunlop’s impressive performance and record-breaking speeds set a new milestone that will add even more excitement to the upcoming races.

 

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Isle of Man TT 2023 - Qualifying 5
Isle of Man TT - Qualifying 5 (1)
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