Conor Cummins secures Superbike TT podium
The 2014 Isle of Man TT races got underway today with Honda Racing’s Conor Cummins securing a podium finish in the opening Superbike race.
His team-mate John McGuinness – who is still recovering from a broken scaphoid – completed the six-lap outing in seventh place.
The race began at 11am in warm and sunny conditions and by the end of lap one, Cummins was in third aboard his Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine. A smooth and confident performance saw the Manxman putting serious pressure on second-placed rider Guy Martin, with a gap of less than a second at the halfway stage.
Cummins eventually crossed the line just under three seconds behind Martin to take his fifth TT podium – his first on a Superbike since a serious crash on the Mountain course in 2010, which threatened to end his road racing career.
McGuinness, meanwhile, dug deep and got his head down, climbing from eighth to fifth by lap four. The 20-time Isle of Man TT winner was in the battle for fourth place until the end of the penultimate lap, when a late attack from Bruce Anstey coupled with a wave of backmarkers saw him drop down to seventh come the chequered flag.
In what turned out to be a spectacular opener, a new outright lap record of 132.298mph was set by Bruce Anstey aboard his Padgetts Motorcycles Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The Honda Racing team will reconvene on Friday 6 June for the Senior TT.
Conor Cummins: “It’s been a tricky few years since my accident and I’m just so happy to be here, I can’t say much more than that. I’m feel like I’m riding well and I’m learning all the time on the Honda Fireblade.
“I was really pushing for second place and I had good boards all around the course, so thanks to the boys that were out there. I can’t say a big enough thank you to Honda Racing, my sponsors and all the people that have helped me get here today.”
John McGuinness: “It’s does feel strange not to be in the winners’ enclosure, but I knew going in to the race that I might struggle. Three or four weeks ago I thought I wouldn’t even be able to compete, so to finish six laps and place in the top ten I don’t feel like I’ve disgraced myself.
“My wrist was holding me back in some places but in others it wasn’t on my mind. I need to take the positives from this – I was in the hunt for fourth before I got held up and I finished the race, so as I said, I didn’t disgrace myself.”