Fourteen years have separated back-to-back 250cc wins for New Zealand road racing ace Bruce Anstey on the Isle of Man.
During Saturday’s opening day of Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix action, the Kiwi claimed a clear victory in the inaugural Sure Lightweight Classic TT.
The new race on the Classic TT programme saw the return of 250cc two-stroke machines to the TT Mountain Course for the first time since 2002. That last 250cc TT race in 2002 was the first of 11 TT victories which 47-year-old Anstey has achieved in his career.
Riding a Honda RS 250 fielded by the Valvoline Racing/Padgett’s Motorcycles team, Anstey made a fast start with a 117.170mph opening lap and led the four-lap Lightweight Classic TT from start to finish. He won by just over one minute from veteran Welsh rider Ian Lougher on a Yamaha TZ 250.
Ryan Kneen (Yamaha) was an early challenger but retired on the opening lap and it was Phil Harvey on a CSC Racing Honda who completed the podium.
On lap two Anstey posted the fastest ever 250cc lap of the Mountain Course at 19min 03.876s for an average speed of 118.74mph. It bettered the 250cc lap record set by John McGuinness in 1999 and means Anstey has the distinction of holding both two-stroke records, following the Classic TT success with the YZR 500 two stroke Yamaha last year (a record that could be bettered in Monday’s Classic Superbike TT).
Earlier in the day 23-time TT winner McGuinness had taken his first Classic TT victory riding a Team Winfield Paton 500 to victory in the 500cc Senior Classic TT.
Rising star Dean Harrison rode to second on an MV Agusta 500 and leading female racer Maria Costello – who raced in New Zealand during 2014 – achieved a career-best third place on another Paton 500.
The 350cc Junior Classic TT and Superbike Classic TT races are scheduled on Monday (Monday night and Tuesday morning NZ time).