Dunlop is the Man at the TT

PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/06/16: Hawk Racing BMW rider Michael Dunlop celebrates after winning the Pokerstars Senior TT at the 2016 Isle of Man TT PHOTO BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER BELFAST 10/06/16: Hawk Racing BMW rider Michael Dunlop celebrates after winning the Pokerstars Senior TT at the 2016 Isle of Man TT PHOTO BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Michael Dunlop stepped up to the mark as the Ulster rider put an end to arch-rival Ian Hutchinson’s winning streak at the Isle of Man TT on Friday.

The Ballymoney man recoorded a record-breaking victory in the blue riband PokerStars Senior race.

The eagerly-awaited finale had been billed as a shootout between the pair, but Dunlop was in a class of his own as he smashed his days-old outright lap record with a near-134mph lap to leave Bingley Bullet Hutchinson on the ropes.

Dunlop maintained a scorching pace around the Mountain Course to assert his dominance and at the finish, he was over half-a-minute clear of the Tyco BMW rider.

The Ballymoney man’s answer to those questioning his ability to raise his game once more couldn’t have been more emphatic as he broke record after record, setting a new outright benchmark for the six-lap distance of 1h 43m 56.129s.

McGuinness completed the top three in motorcycle road racing’s most coveted race, a further 31 seconds behind Hutchinson.

A jubilant Dunlop, celebrating his 13th TT win and a famous big bike double, said: “I came out fighting and I can’t thank Stuart enough and Steve [Hicken] because they’ve worked hard to put a bike below me and it’s a family effort.

“It’s probably the first time in a long time a private bike has come here and won races.”

An irate Hutchinson was critical of Dunlop in the press conference afterwards and hinted that he may even rethink his future at the TT.

He has refused to let the issue go and took to Twitter to demand an apology, saying: “I won’t be happy until the scrutineer involved apologises for his incompetence in creating this suspicion!”