Bruce Anstey won one of the most thrilling races in Isle of Man TT history when he took the first Monster Energy Supersport race on Monday afternoon by just 0.77s from fellow Antipodean Cameron Donald. Once long time leader Michael Dunlop retired on the third lap, there was never more than a couple of seconds between Anstey, Donald and Gary Johnson with only the smallest margin - 0.62 - separating the trio at Ramsey Hairpin on the final lap. However, Johnson ran out of fuel on the final drop down the Mountain and Anstey’s final lap of 126.634mph was enough for him to come home for his 9th TT win, ten years after his first back in 2002.
A road traffic accident caused a two hour delay to proceeding but, with conditions all around the Mountain Course perfect, when it did it was the two Dunlops, Michael and William that were fastest out of the blocks. Michael led through Glen Helen on the opening lap - albeit by just 0.25s and, in typical Supersport fashion, it was close across the top ten. Johnson was in third, 1.5s adrift, and he was followed by Donald, Anstey, Ryan Farquhar and John McGuinness with just a further 1.5s splitting 3rd to 7th.
Michael Dunlop was really pressing on and with a lead of 5.48s at Ramsey, it was almost inevitable he would lead at the end of the opening lap and this he duly did. A lap of 126.258mph gave him a 10.07s lead over new second place rider Donald with William just 0.35s back in third. Johnson, Anstey and local hope Dan Kneen completed the top six but it was still close with only six seconds separating second to eighth. One man not in the mix though was Guy Martin, the Tyco Suzuki rider pulling in at the end of the first lap and with Conor Cummins having again withdrawn from the day’s racing, it wasn’t a good day for the Irish team.
Irish eyes were smiling on Michael Dunlop though at the head of the field and with the fastest lap of the race, 126.948mph, his lead increased to almost 22 seconds at half race distance. Johnson took over the runner-up spot when they came into the pits to refuel and William was still in third with Anstey now up to fourth ahead of Donald. Kneen, McGuinness and Farquhar were still in contention and despite 75 miles having been completed, there was still only 11 seconds separating the seven riders in 2nd to 8th.
Things began to change on the third lap and when Michael Dunlop was reported late Glen Helen, it handed the lead to Johnson with an advantage of 3.5s over new second placed man Donald. Anstey was a further second back and William Dunlop a similar gap behind in fourth. McGuinness had overhauled Kneen by 0.3s to move into fifth whilst news came through that Michael Dunlop had stopped at Ballig Bridge.