Michael Dunlop clinched his maiden victory in the Okells Junior race at the Classic TT following an exciting battle with Michael Rutter.

The Ballymoney man battled throughout with Rutter and although he had to pit for fuel on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta, he clawed back a deficit of 35 seconds to Rutter, who was able to complete the four-lap distance on the Ripley Land Racing Honda without stopping.

Dunlop caught Rutter again on the road on the final lap and went on to win by 10 seconds, with third place going to Alan Oversby on the Davies Motorsport Honda.

Related Articles

Ulsterman Dunlop, fastest in practice for the class, had already opened a lead of seven seconds on lap one at Glen Helen over Rutter, with Jamie Coward in third. William Dunlop, one of the pre-race favourites, was an early retirement on the Davies Motorsport Honda while Dean Harrison was also in trouble on the Black Eagle MV Agusta, eventually retiring at the end of lap one.

At the end of the first lap, Dunlop's advantage was now 10 seconds over Rutter following an opening speed of 103.775mph with Rutter close behind on the road. Coward was still third ahead of Oversby, with Cameron Donald next.

Rutter managed a quicker second lap than Dunlop at 103.974mph to cut his lead to seven seconds and he forged ahead at the end of the lap, going straight through as Dunlop came in for fuel.

With Rutter clear by 35 seconds, Dunlop put his head down and began to hunt down the new race leader, slashing the gap to 13.5 seconds as he began the fourth and final lap.

The 13-time Isle of Man TT winner set the fastest lap of the race at 104.475mph on the final lap as he relentlessly pursued Rutter, taking the lead at Ballaugh and closing in on the rear wheel of the Honda by the time they reached Ramsey Hairpin.

Dunlop went on to seal victory as he flashed across the line side by side with Rutter, with Oversby taking third after Coward retired at Kerrowmoar. The top six was completed by Cameron Donald, Dan Cooper and Danny Webb.