Michael Dunlop wins the 2016 Okells JuniorClassic TT riding a Black Eagle MV 350

Michael Dunlop, Mitch Kay and Mark Kay

Wiinner Michael Dunlop with Mark Kay and Mitch Kay of the Black Eagle Racing Team


Michael Dunlop was the surprise winner of the 2016 Okells Classic TT



Michael Dunlop riding in the Okells Classic TT


Dunlop on a flyer

Two of the most iconic names in Mountain Course history combined when Michael Dunlop secured a comfortable victory on a 350 MV Agusta in the Junior Classic.

Standing in for injured fellow Ulsterman, Lee Johnston, on the Kay Engineering-built and prepared Black Eagle Racing machine, he had edged into a 10.8 second lead over Michael Rutter’s Ripley Land Honda in the initial 16-mile run to Ballaugh.
William Dunlop and James Cotton were among the early retirements.  Dunlop at Ballacraine on the Davies Motorsport Honda and Cowton at Westwood, approaching Kirk Michael, on Matt Jackson’s Honda.
An opening lap of 103.775mph gave Dunlop an 11 second advantage over Rutter, with Jamie Coward another 27 seconds down on Ted Wood’s Honda.  Alan Oversby was the only other rider to lap at 100mph.


Many bikes in the Isle of Man TT don't finish the race.


Mark Purslow walked away from a spill as the Gooseneck, while Dean Harrison retired at the pits with a lot of oil on his boot after a troubled lap on the MV4.  His brother Adrian had stopped after four miles at Ballasgrey on a 250 Suzuki.
A sister bike ridden by Maria Costello had stalled on the start line and she lost four minutes before finally getting away from the bottom of the pit lane thanks to a push from the backup crew.
Dunlop and Rutter were together on the road at Glen Helen and stayed that way until the latter man pitted for fuel at half distance.  
Rutter was on a non-stop strategy with the K4-twin, so it was all about how much time 13-time TT winner Dunlop could drag back on him over the final 75 miles.  At Glen Helen it was a little under 29seconds then 23 seconds at Ramsey, but Coward was out of the final podium spot after retiring at Kerrowmoar.  Oversby was up to third, 1min 22s ahead of Carl Donald on Ian Gerbutt’s 7R AJS. 



Michael Dunlop rides in te 2016 Okells Classic TT


Many bikes in the Isle of Man TT go up in smoke. Many don't finish the race.


Michael Dunlop wins the Okells Classic TT



Dunlop was piling on the coals and had reduced the lead to 19s at the Bungalow.

With one to go it was down to 13.9s, with Rutter appearing to be slowing.  The fastest lap three speed was Oversby’s 102.073mph.

Dave Edwards and Karl Fox were the leading 250s at half distance, but they both went out on the third circuit, the former’s Yamaha cutting out at Ramsey Hairpin.  This left Maria Costello ahead in the category, despite losing so much time at the start.  She was 22nd overall to of 38 riders still circulating.
Dunlop was taking chunks out of Rutter’s leading the gap was down to four seconds at Glen Helen with 26 miles remaining.  

He was confirmed as leader once more at Ballaugh and the two were back on the road together at Ramsey.  They were shaking fists jovially at one another going over the mountain, eventually crossing the finish line side by side in front of an appreciative and packed grandstand crowd.

After his first Classic TT win away from the Superbike class, Dunlop said how much he had enjoyed riding the MV.  “I didn’t think that anyone as fat as me could win a race like this.

“I’m delighted to do it for the Kay family. There are three generations here working on the bikes and they are a great team.  I had a few throttle problems on the opening couple of laps, the carburatoin seemed a little flat.  But it picked up again after the pit stop.

“When I saw Michael Rutter on the final lap I backed off and we had some fun over the top.  It was great to see everyone out at the side of the track waving and cheering us on.”

Rutter admitted that he had ridden the wheels off his Honda. “I saw the lead dropping on the boards, so I kept the revs down to save it and the next thing I saw was this little fat face peering across at me as we climbed the mountain.

“The Honda struggles to pull you up to speed, so I slip-streamed Michael to the finish.  It was an awesome little race but I knew I couldn’t do him for speed.”

Dunlop’s winning time of 1hr 27min 51.735s  beat Chris Palmer’s record from 2013 by almost a full minute, but his  fastest lap of 104.475mph on the final circuit was a little short of the 105.239mph record set by Lee Johnston on the same bike in 2014.


- An extract from an article by John Patterson



Michael Dunlop wins the 2016 Okells JuniorClassic TT riding a Black Eagle Racing machine

Many bikes in the Isle of Man Classic TT races go up in smoke.

Black Eagle Racing Team with Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop wins the 2016 Okells JuniorClassic TT riding for the Black Eagle Racing Team

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Michael Dunlop was the surprise winner of the 2016 Okells JuniorClassic TT.