20 HAIL JOEY!; Dunlop can't stop winning.
The 44-year-old Ulsterman stuttered home just six seconds ahead of Scot Jim Moodie to take the four-lap Lightweight race after fearing he would run out of gas on the final lap.
After refuelling his 250 Honda, Dunlop eased back in the final stages, concerned that the tank might run dry with the finishing line virtually within sight.
"I was struggling a bit then," he admitted after holding off Moodie's late charge. "I conserved the fuel as much as possible and luckily I was still able to up my pace enough to keep ahead.
"When I got the signal on the last lap that Jim was coming I went really hard to Ramsey and then eased back again over the mountain."
Dunlop, a Ballymoney publican, considered quitting racing after winning his 19th TT last year. But he decided to carry on and said: "Yes, it's nice to have made it 20 but getting it was just as hard as the first one 21 years ago."
Before the end of lap one, Dunlop and fellow-countryman Phillip McCallen were battling for the lead.
When the pair went into the pits to refuel at half-way, McCallen - set on making it five wins in a week - held a 3.5 second advantage.
But he lost the lead when he was "trapped in" by the Yamaha of Welshman Ian Lougher, which was being refuelled in an adjoining pit.
Dunlop seized his chance - and nine miles further down the road at Glen Helen was 14 seconds clear of McCallen.
At Ramsey, McCallen's Honda started to lose power, the result of a damaged exhaust pipe. "I rode as hard as I could from then on but the power wasn't there," he said. "The show was over for me."
McCallen dropped away to finish fourth after failing to keep Jason Griffiths at bay on the final lap.
But Dunlop faced a new challenge from Moodie over the final two laps. The Scot had sliced the lead to 11 seconds as they went into the final lap - and by Glen Helen it was down to eight.
"I was trying like hell to catch Joey and I thought I could do it ," said Moodie.
Griffiths made the TT podium for the third time after a "hell of a battle" with fellow Welshman Nigel Davies, who ended up fifth on a Padgett Yamaha, his first-ever ride on a 250cc machine.
Lougher, who was fastest in practice, ended the day with his six-year- old lap record still intact - but back in 11th place.
Sandra Barnett, the island's fastest lady on two wheels, brought out a Yamaha for her first 250 TT campaign and came home 19th of 55 finishers.
The hotel conference manageress from Evesham put in a last lap of over 111mph and will collect a bronze replica finishers' award.
Manxman Dave Molyneux, not satisfied with annihilating the sidecar race and lap records on Saturday, yesterday wrung even more speed out of his 600cc Yamaha-powered DMF machine.
With passenger Peter Hill, he also took the B race - whacking the lap record past 111mph and race average over 110mph.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 5, 1996|
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