Eazi Grip

Peter Hickman takes 14th TT win in dramatic superbike race

Peter Hickman claimed his 14th TT win during a dramatic RST Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT Races, matching Mike Hailwood’s tally. The Monster Energy BMW by FHO Racing rider taking the lead on the final lap to win by 5.84 seconds from Davey Todd (Milwaukee BMW) with Dean Harrison (Honda Racing) in third.

It was one of the most thrilling races of recent times as Michael Dunlop (MasterMac by Hawk/MD Racing Honda) originally led by twenty-five seconds at two-thirds race distance only to have an issue with the sidepod on his visor leaving the pits after his second stop – this resulted in him stopping on Bray Hill, which dropped him down to fourth.

Michael Dunlop set a new Superbike lap record of 135.970mph

The race got underway on time at 2.40pm with near perfect conditions around the Mountain Course and it was Todd who led through Glen Helen for the first time, his advantage over Hickman just 0.037 seconds. They were quickly followed by Harrison, Dunlop, Hickman’s team-mate Josh Brookes and James Hillier (WTF Racing Honda) as only 3.5 seconds covered the top six but Brookes was soon out, retiring at Handley’s after his chain came off.

Todd maintained his lead at Ballaugh, only 0.166 seconds ahead of new second-placed rider Harrison and it was now Dunlop in third as Hickman slipped back to fourth. But, by Ramsey, Todd had extended his lead over Harrison to 1.18 seconds, although Hickman was the fastest rider from Ballaugh to Ramsey. James Hind, fifth in Saturday’s Supersport race, was another retirement as was Shaun Anderson.

An opening lap of 134.417mph gave Todd a 2.2 second advantage over Dunlop (134.118mph), aided by the best ever sector time from the Bungalow to Cronk Ny Mona, but Harrison (134.048mph) was only half a second further back with Hickman (133.754mph) still in fourth. Hillier (132.172mph) and KTS Racing’s Jamie Coward (131.627mph) were now fifth and sixth ahead of Conor Cummins, John McGuinness, David Johnson and Mike Browne, the latter becoming officially the fastest ever Aprilia rider around the Mountain Course.

Dunlop was quickest to Glen Helen and cut Todd’s lead to 1.5 seconds and although Hickman was closing in on Harrison, the gap between them now just three tenths of a second, he’d lost another second to the leaders. Coward was also closing in on Hillier, the deficit now 2.2 seconds.

Over Ballaugh Bridge and Dunlop was ahead by half a second and round Ramsey Hairpin for the second time, he’d extended his lead over Todd to 4.4 seconds with the quickest ever sector time between the two timing points.

Dunlop was inside the outright lap record at Ramsey and although he fell just short, a second lap of 135.543mph saw him move nine seconds clear. Hickman (134.701mph) was charging though, and he was now in second, four tenths of a second ahead of Todd (133.980mph) as Harrison (133.234mph) continued to lose ground in fourth. Hillier (131.898mph) and Coward (132.098mph) continued to hold onto fifth and sixth ahead of McGuinness, Cummins, Johnson and Browne, the latter just a fraction outside his first ever 130mph lap.

Hickman lost time in the pits though and dropped back to third at Glen Helen on lap three, five seconds behind Todd and a further nine behind the pace setting Dunlop. Hillier had also added five seconds to his advantage over Hillier whilst Dunlop moved ahead of Harrison along the Sulby Straight to now lead on the road.

Dunlop was extending his lead through every timing point and at half race distance, he’d pulled 17.3 seconds clear of Todd with Hickman now four seconds adrift of his fellow BMW rider. Harrison was running in a comfortable fourth, but Coward had now overhauled Hillier for fifth, albeit by just 0.3 seconds. Cummins retired from ninth though at the pits as did Phil Crowe and Rob Hodson with 16-time winner Ian Hutchinson going out at Windy Corner.

Back at the front and a fourth lap speed of 135.235mph enabled Dunlop to stretch his lead further over Todd to 25.1 seconds as he came in for his second pit stop but the battle for third was hotting up as Harrison, benefitting from a tow from Dunlop, posted a personal best lap of 135.185mph to move two seconds ahead of Hickman. Coward (132.655mph) also set a new personal best as he took a stranglehold of fifth with McGuinness now up to sixth.

However, drama followed after Dunlop left the pits as his new visor hadn’t clipped in correctly and he stopped down Bray Hill losing valuable time to fix it – when he got to Glen Helen for the penultimate time, he’d dropped to fourth with Harrison in the lead! Hickman was only 1.1 second behind Harrison though with Todd ten seconds adrift in third.

Starting the final lap it had changed again with Hickman now leading Harrison by two seconds with Todd, who’d taken the best Ballaugh-Ramsey sector time off Dunlop, well in touch and only 4.7 seconds back, which set it all up for a thrilling final 37.73 miles.

James Hillier in battle with John McGuinness for fifth

Having been in the position before though, Hickman tightened his grip of the race throughout the lap and final lap speed of 135.534mph gave him a 5.8 second victory over Todd with Harrison completing the podium in third. Dunlop was left to wonder what might have been in fourth with his only consolation being a new Superbike lap record of 135.970mph.

The battle for fifth went all the way to the end with Hillier coming out on top, 2.8 second ahead of McGuinness with Coward only 0.2s behind his fellow Honda rider. The top ten was completed by INCompetition Aprilia’s Browne, Michael Rutter (Bathams Ales BMW) and Brian McCormack (Roadhouse Macau by FHO BMW).

Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2024 in News

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