It’s Monday, June 5, 2023, and the first two days of racing at the 2023 Isle of Man TT are in the history books. Today’s a rest day for the riders—but already, the two solo races that have taken place at the 2023 TT have been topped by one racer and one racer alone: Michael Dunlop.
The 2023 IOMTT kicked off in fine fashion with Supersport Race One on Saturday, June 3, 2023. In this class, Dunlop rode his MD Racing Yamaha to his 22nd-ever TT victory. He beat out second-place finisher (and first competitor) Peter Hickman by 12.3 seconds after both had crossed the finish line. Hickman, for his part, managed to slip past third-place finisher Dean Harrison toward the very end of the fourth and final lap of the race. The two were separated by a time of just 0.394 seconds at the end—but every millisecond is potentially the difference between places at the finish line.
While Dunlop was no doubt pleased with those results, he was back at the start line and ready to go on Sunday, June 4, 2023, for the first Superbike TT race of the year. This time, he mounted his Hawk Racing Honda and managed to lead the race from start to finish. That’s also when Dunlop entered the history books, because this Superbike TT win in 2023 marks Dunlop’s 23rd-ever TT win, tying him with John McGuinness for the title of second-winningest TT rider of all time.
By the Superbike TT’s end, Dunlop had managed to open an 8.2-second lead over second-place finisher Peter Hickman, with Dean Harrison once again rounding out the podium in third (same racers, different machines, different category). Although Hickman had trouble early on with his quickshifter that led to him dropping down to fourth in the lineup early on, he managed to battle Harrison for second place once again. Davey Todd had started in third but eventually had to retire halfway through the race, leaving the top three of Dunlop, Harrison, and Hickman walking away from the rest of the field.
Although Dunlop’s second-lap speed of 135.046 miles per hour wasn’t quite fast enough to set a new lap record on the Mountain Course, it was clearly plenty fast enough. With four more days of racing to come in the 2023 IOMTT, and Dunlop scheduled to compete in six more races this year, what’s next? You (and we) will have to wait and see.