Classic TT: Michael Dunlop and Bruce Anstey shine as practice reaches climax

Michael Dunlop breached the 125mph mark during Classic TT practice on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69

Michael Dunlop breached the 125mph mark during Classic TT practice on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69

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Michael Dunlop left it late to take over from Dean Harrison as the fastest rider in practice at the Classic TT with the first 125mph lap of the week on Friday.

Harrison had raised the bar to 124.823mph on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki but Dunlop hit back, upping the ante to 125.562mph on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 as he bids to reclaim his Classic Superbike crown in Monday’s feature race.

Kiwi Bruce Anstey stopped on the Padgetts Yamaha YZR500 at Lambfell and is down the order in 10th place on the combined times, clocking his best lap at 121.178mph earlier in the week.

Anstey, though, earlier raised expectations of a new lap record for the Lightweight class as he went agonisingly close to John McGuinness’s 1999 benchmark.

The 11-time TT winner lapped at 118.24mph on the Padgetts Honda RS250, fractionally outside McGuinness’s mark of 118.29mph.

The 47-year-old heads into the Sure Lightweight race on Saturday afternoon (4.15pm) as the hot favourite, with Ian Lougher also a major contender for the podium following a series of 113mph laps on the LayLaw Yamaha.

“I’m trying to get my corner speed sorted out and we’ve made a few changes with the gearing,” Anstey said. “There’s plenty more to come.”

McGuinness slid off the Winfield Paton at Quarter Bridge but later set the fastest lap for the class at 110.363mph ahead of Saturday morning’s Bennetts Senior race (11.30am).

Michael Dunlop’s speed of 102.567mph on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta was the fastest Junior lap of the week but his older brother William also signalled his intent with another lap of 100mph on the Davies Motorsport Honda.