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TT2012: Hard-charging Anstey seals ninth victory
4 June 2012
Bruce Anstey sealed his ninth Isle of Man TT victory in the opening Supersport race following one of the closest finishes ever in the history of the event.
Anstey prevailed in a final lap thriller to take a popular victory from Wilson Craig Honda duo Cameron Donald and William Dunlop, whose brother Michael was cruelly robbed of the opportunity to achieve more success on the biggest stage of them all when he retired from the race on his Yamaha R6 while holding a 16-second advantage on the third lap.
Dunlop's only consolation was setting a new lap record for the Supersport 'A' race at 126.948mph, still some way off his outright lap record at the TT for 600cc machines of 127.8mph.
There was also bitter disappointment for Lincolnshire's Gary Johnson, who was involved in a scintillating scrap for the victory with Anstey and Donald on the final lap until he ran of fuel.
Padgetts Honda veteran Anstey went on to clinch his ninth TT win as he repeated his success in the opening Monster Energy Supersport showdown from 2011.
Anstey took the chequered flag by a miniscule 0.77 seconds from Australian star Donald after four laps and 150 miles of nail-biting action.
The race had originally been scheduled for a 10.45am start but was delayed until 1pm following a fatal road traffic accident involving a motorcyclist at Greeba Castle.
Double TT winner Donald is in a rich vein of form at TT 2012 and his runner-up finish is the second time in three days he has missed out on the top spot after John McGuinness had the upper hand in Saturday's Dainese Superbike race.
The manner of the defeat was hard to swallow, with just over half a second preventing Donald from capturing his third TT success following his Superbike and Superstock double in 2008.
It was the second closest finish in the history of the event, with Mark Baldwin's triumph on the Padgetts Honda in the1995 Ultra Lightweight TT race by 0.6 seconds over Mick Lofthouse the narrowest margin of victory ever recorded.
Speaking after a pulsating final lap that kept fans on the edge of their seats, an overwhelmed Anstey – a hugely popular winner on the Island – revealed his CBR600RR was beginning to run out of fuel in the closing miles, although he still lapped at 126.634mph.
“I wasn't sure I was going to make it over the line because I could feel the bike going – I can't believe it,” he said.
“I just kept my head down and went as fast as I could and I could see the times coming down and down.”
Anstey described the victory as his 'toughest' achievement since he made his TT debut ten years ago.
“I think that's the toughest one ever. I rode as hard as I could on that last lap.
“We had the bike on the dyno all week just trying to squeeze as much power out of it as we could because we knew it was going to be a really tight race.”
Johnson's demise gifted William Dunlop his first TT podium, with John McGuinness fourth, eight seconds behind Dunlop, and the top six completed by James Hillier and Ian Lougher.
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