He made history in 2010 when he won five races in a week, but an accident later that same year left Ian Hutchinson with a long road to recovery. He looked to be back on form at the North West 200 and fought Bruce Anstey for the race win in Sunday’s Superbike win. Finally, five years after those five wins, Hutchinson has added win number nine to his overall tally in the first Supersport race of the week. It was even more of a fairytale due to the last minute switch of bikes for Hutchinson when his deal to ride MV Agustas fell through and he moved to Keith Flint’s TTC Yamaha instead.
It was once again John McGuinness who led them away from the number one spot but it was Dean Harrison who made a quick start, catching the Morecambe Missile on the road. He dropped to third place after having a ‘moment’, behind early leader Hutchinson and Gary Johnson. Anstey then moved into third. Harrison’s race came to an end early on when he pulled off at Crosby at the start of the second lap.
Hutchinson was the fastest of the top three riders on the first lap with 126.400mph, with Johnson completing a 126.309mph lap in second and Anstey a 126.033mph in third. Behind the top three, the rest of the top ten at the end of the first lap were Harrison, Lee Johnston, Guy Martin, James Hillier, Conor Cummins, John McGuinness and Keith Amor. Michael Dunlop was another retirement when he pulled off at Kirk Michael, joined on the sidelines by Daniel Hegarty and Dominic Herbertson.
Pit stops came into play at the end of the second lap and it was Martin who lost out the most. He – alone with Nuno Caetano – was given a 30 second time penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed, dropping him back behind Johnston and Hillier on corrected time. He fought back and eventually finished in fifth place, behind Johnston. His penalty left many wondering what could have been, however, as he looked like he could fight for a podium position.
At the start of the third lap, Hutchinson had built up a 6.6 second lead to Anstey which fell to six seconds by the start of the final lap. It was down to 5.1 after Glen Helen, as Anstey put in a charge, but Hutchinson had a response and he pulled away to extend the time to over seven seconds by the end of the race. Hutchinson was emotional after the race and in the post race press conference as he finally made it back to the top step of the podium after his difficult journey.
During the race Amor had an off at Stella Maris but was reported as being OK while Ryan Kneen retired in the pits. Before the race William Dunlop had unfortunately been ruled out of the remainder of TT week following an accident in practice this morning. The Tyco BMW rider – who was considered one of the favourites for the Supersport class by many – suffered a broken rib and extensive bruising.
Behind the top five, Hillier came home in sixth place with McGuinness, Cummins, Dan Kneen, and Michael Rutter completing the top ten. David Johnson finished 11th ahead of Ivan Lintin and Cameron Donald, who was making his return to the Supersport class following a year away last year. He finished ahead of Dan Cooper, Jamie Hamilton, Steve Mercer, Jamie Coward, James Cowton, Dan Stewart and newcomer Derek McGee.