Fine start at Isle of Man TT races for Peter Hickman

After safely completing practice and qualifying week at the Isle of Man TT races Louth ace Peter Hickman started race week with a strong second place in the first Supersport race on Saturday and then took another runner up-spot in the Superbike race on Sunday, writes Helen Pask.
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

He had qualified in third place and started the four lap Supersport race from his usual 10th position. Being a time trial, the riders set off at 10 second intervals and race against the clock over the 37.73 mile Mountain roads course.

By the time he reached the first check point at Glen Helen he had already slotted into third place behind Michael Dunlop and Dean Harrison.

The three riders were the fastest during practice week and baring any breakdowns they were always going to be the three podium finishers.

After the second lap they came in for refuelling and went straight out to challenge each other for the top spot, but Dunlop was well ahead on time at this stage and was not going to be beaten.

But it was a different situation for Harrison and Hickman. After the third lap Harrison was some 3.9 seconds ahead on time.

At Ballaugh the gap had reduced to 2.3s and Hickman realised Harrison could be caught so stepped up the pace and was into second place as they traversed the Mountain.

He crossed the finish line just a fraction of a second faster that his rival to snatch second place at the flag beating his personal lap time set last year with a 1m 29.039s lap on the final lap.

He said: “I said at the start that I just take too long to get going on the little bike and it takes me a couple of laps to get in my stride.

“I was confused by my boards as I knew at one point I was around 9-10 seconds away from Dean but then it was down to six and then to three and I realised I might be able to catch him.

“It was a super quick last lap and I got tucked in as much as I could with my 6ft 2ins frame and it worked. I am super happy we are on the podium and we just need to figure out how to catch Dunlop now.”

On Sunday Hickman encountered problems with the FHO Racing BMW in the six lap Superbike race but persevered and circulated in third place for five of the six laps.

It was a gruelling 226 mile race but on the final lap Hickman was determined to catch Harrison in second and had a three second advantage over the Lincolnshire ace.

As he raced around the final lap he made up time to Ballaugh where he crossed the timing beam in second place and continued to make up time towards Dunlop.

Hickman was flying and crossed the finish line for second place just over 8s away from Dunlop. Hickman recorded a last lap time of 135.446s - just 0.046s outside his own existing outright lap record. He also set the Superbike fastest lap on lap six with a time of 16m 42.825s.

He said: “I am happy enough with second place; right from the start I knew I was in for a very long, tough race as before I even got to St Minions the quick shifter had stopped working.

“I knew then I was not going to win the race but I got my head down and tried to find what the bike would and would not do.

“The next problem was that I had no brakes, I pulled the lever right back to the bar but there was nothing there as the bike was head shaking so much.

“It was so violent over the bumps that the bike kept knocking the pads back. That was so unnerving but I persevered and here we are in second place.”

Hickman has six more races throughout the week culminating in the Senior TT race on Saturday.