Aussie Davo Johnson crashed out of the Senior on Lap Three after completing his fastest lap of the race at 130.3mph.
Johnson slid off the Norton at the end of Sulby Straight and was reported as being uninjured.
It was a disappointing end to what was shaping up as another great result.
Earlier in the week, Adelaide-based Johnson made TT history in the Superbike race, lapping at 130.872mph to become the fastest ever rider of a British motorcycle.
Before last night’s race he had spent several hours at Jurby airfield’s test track tweaking the V4 Norton.
“We done loads of suspension changes and it’s a completely different bike,” he said.
He followed this up with a 129.093mph lap from a standing start in the last Senior practice. This placed him seventh fastest in a field of 55 riders.
Johnson was on a charge from the start of last night’s race. By Glen Helen on Lap One he was in 10th place, just 0.8sec behind last year’s Senior winner John McGuinness (Honda) and ahead of Michael Rutter (BMW) and Conor Cummins (Honda). By Ballaugh he had shaved that difference to 0.3sec and then hit the fifth fastest speed down Sulby Straight at 192.3mph.
Johnson was showing the typical consistency and speed that has won a new legion of fans for Norton. On Lap Two he was locked in a stop-watch battle with Cummins and James Hillier (Kawasaki) and was equal third fastest down Sulby Straight, tied with Lee Johnston (BMW) at 191.2mph, behind Ian Hutchinson (BMW) and Michael Dunlop (BMW).
Johnson clocked up a 130.3mph lap despite slowing to bring the Norton into the pits for refuelling. At this stage of the race he was in 8th place and 0.8sec ahead of Cummins. The top nine riders all recorded a lap time of over 130mph with Dunlop setting a new outright lap record of 133.962mph.
Back on the road Johnson fired the Norton to second fastest down Sulby Straight for the third time. He clocked up 191.7mph behind Dunlop and Kiwi Bruce Anstey (Honda), who were equal on top speed at 192.8mph.
Despite the disappointment Norton has high hopes for both its V4 racer and Johnson.”It’s taken us five years to turn the corner,” said Norton team adviser and TT legend Mick Grant. Norton factory owner Stuart Garner was also upbeat.
“Davo’s done a mega job and we can’t thank him enough,” he said.
The racer is built in-house at the Norton factory and is powered by an Aprilia V4 engine. “We’re developing our own V4 engine for next year’s TT,” said Garner. The other high-profile Aussie at this year’s TT, Cameron Donald, withdrew before the start of the Senior. “After two weeks of torture with our Superbike it’s game over,” he said, referring to the mechanical problems the Wilson Craig team has battled with its Honda Fireblade.
Image: Matt Coates
By: Hamish Cooper