IOM TT 2018 – Post race report – Senior TT – Hickman sets new outright lap record
Massive trackside crowds in glorious sunshine were treated to one of the greatest races in the TT’s long illustrious history as Peter Hickman won a sensational Senior TT race at the Isle of Man TT races on Friday when he set a new outright lap record of 135.452mph on the final lap to defeat Dean Harrison by just two seconds.
Harrison had led the race for five and a half of the six laps but Hickman reeled him on the sixth lap, having been quicker over the Mountain all race, he turned a 3.7second deficit at Glen Helen into a lead of 0.8s at the Bungalow and he smashed the race record by 48.064s to take his second win. Harrison took second with Conor Cummins in third.
Harrison led Hickman by 1.2s through Glen Helen on the opening lap with Dunlop a further second back in third as Hillier, Cummins and David Johnson completed the top six and by Ramsey, the Kawasaki rider had doubled his advantage to 2.4s. Dunlop remained in third but was some 8.4s behind Hickman. Hillier’s strong week ended though with a retirement at Westwood with a cracked sump.
Cummins led on the road with a lap of 131.754mph but it was Harrison who led with a lap of 133.678mph. However, Hickman was only 1.4s behind although Dunlop’s challenge looked to be already over as he was almost 13 seconds behind his fellow BMW rider. Cummins, David Johnson and Josh Brookes completed the top six but Johnson pulled into the pits to retire promoting namesake Gary Johnson into sixth.
Leading privateer Sam West was close to his maiden 130mph lap in eighth with newcomer Davey Todd again performing superbly in tenth.
Through Glen Helen on lap two and Harrison had edged away from Hickman again to the tune of 3.5s with Cummins now third as Dunlop slipped further back. Brookes was up to fifth and West now a superb sixth and Todd a stunning eighth.
Harrison had added another second to his lead as he rounded Ramsey Hairpin and he came into his first pit stop at the end of lap two having lapped at 133.704mph. His lead had been cut though with Hickman now only 1.4s in arrears. Cummins, Dunlop, Brookes and West rounded out the top six. Todd was now in eighth.
After the pit stop and through Glen Helen for the third time, Harrison’s lead had crept out to 4.8s and the duo were over half a minute clear of Cummins who was now coming under pressure from Dunlop with the gap just over half a second.
Throughout the first half of lap three, Harrison continued to pull away, with his lead at Ramsey over eight seconds, but Hickman was again quicker over the Mountain. As they started lap four, the difference between the two was back down to 5.8s. Cummins was looking more comfortable in third with Dunlop now 13.6s behind in fourth as Brookes and West held onto fifth and sixth.
On lap four at Ramsey Hairpin, Harrison had stretched his lead over Hickman to 6.9s but Hickman again showed his strength over the Mountain reducing the deficit at the Bungalow to 4.4s continuing to the Grandstand setting a new outright lap record of 134.456mph on his way into the second pit stop. The gap now just down to 1.402s. The order behind stayed constant as Cummins pulled further away from Dunlop with Brookes looking comfortable in fifth but Gary Johnson had overhauled West for sixth.
The second and final pit stop saw changes though as by Glen Helen on lap five Harrison’s lead had shot back up to 6.2s although by Ramsey Hickman had shaved 1.2s off despite his engine sounding significantly louder than how it started.
It was down to 3.6s at the Bungalow, 2.5s at Cronk ny Mona and as Hickman crossed the line to start the final, thrilling lap, his deficit to Harrison was now only 1.9s. Harrison’s superiority over the first nine miles saw him open up the margin to 3.7s. The slower back markers now came into play on the final lap and he pulled even further away on the high speed run to Ballaugh, his advantage now 5.7s.
However, Hickman was on a mission on the run to Ramsey bringing the lead down to just two seconds. By the Bungalow, he’d taken the lead for the first time by the slender margin of 0.834s. He doubled that at Cronk ny Mona.
With Harrison in front of Hickman on the road all eyes were on the chequered flag and Harrison crossed the line with a new lap record of 134.918mph/ 16:46.742 which he held for forty five seconds before Hickman crossed the line in a sensational, new outright lap record of 135.452mph, pipping Harrison to the race win by two seconds.
Who knows what the time would have been if they both hadn’t encountered back markers on the run in to the chequered flag?
Cummins was over a minute and a half back in third with Dunlop, Brookes and Johnson finishing in fourth to sixth, Brookes’ final lap of 131.745mph the fastest by Norton and by an Australian rider.
West’s superb ride ended on lap five and although that promoted Phil Crowe up into seventh, the Lincolnshire rider also went out after coming off at Whitegates on the final lap, fortunately without injury. The eventual seventh place finisher was Martin Jessopp with Jamie Coward, DavyTodd and Brian McCormack completing the top ten.
Dunlop’s fourth place was enough for him to pick up the Joey Dunlop TT Championship with 94 points, with Hickman (86) and Harrison (81) taking second and third.
Todd’s brilliant week saw him pick up the TT Privateer’s Championship as well as the Newcomer’s Trophy.
A delighted Hickman in parc ferme said “What a tough race. Wow. Massive credit to Dean Harrison. He was so fast on the first two sectors, so I kept losing time there, but I knew I could eat it back over the mountain and the later part of the course. I am so happy for everyone,”
“I can’t thank the team and the sponsors enough. Smith’s BMW has given me a mega bike; she’s just sweet as a nut over that second half of the circuit. I knew it was all going to come down to that last lap and I had lost a little time due to backmarkers. What an awesome end to such an emotional TT.”
Words by John Mushet
Images Glynne Lewis