MIKE HAMMONDS TT 2023 BLOG FIVE TT RACES
Peter Hickman's Remarkable Day
Friday 9th June, the penultimate day of racing. Manx Radio reported that a pair of donkeys had gone missing from the Baldrine area of the Island. The last time a donkey was involved in the TT was when George Formey was taken from Douglas Head back to the Grandstand in the No Limit film. Surely history could not be repeating itself?!!
It was also reported that a go-pro, belonging to Greenlight Television, was taken from Michael Russell's sidecar when he retired at the 33rd milestone during yesterday's 3Wheeling Sidecar Race 2. Greenlight have appealed for its return so that Michael Russell and Vicky Cooke can get the coverage they deserve.
The roads closed on time at 10:00 am and the solo warm up lap got underway at 10:30. Paul Jordan went out on his PreZ Racing by Prosper² Yamaha YZF-R6 BN6 Supersport bike to reccy the course.
The RL360 Superstock Race 2 was due off at 11:45am and the Carole Nash Supertwin Race 2 at 2 o'clock. The weather, as it has been all week, was perfect for racing however the Course was not. An overhanging branch had been spotted in the Greeba area and a request had been made for its removal.
Friday was a public holiday on the Island so trying to find a tree surgeon took a little time. A cherry picker was allowed onto the course at Governors Bridge and escorted around the course to Greeba. The offending branch was removed and the debris was cleared away. Overall there was a one hour delay to the start of the RL360 Superstock Race 2 which eventually started at 12:45.
There were 40 riders lining up on Glencrutchery Road waiting for the flag to drop. The non-starters included David Hewson and American Chris Sabora, they had made the decision to draw a line under their respective TT careers.
David Johnson, C&L Fairburn Properties /Jackson Racing Honda CBR1000RR SP SC82, was once again the 'Road Sweeper'. Unfortunately for Davo he only got as far as Ballacraine before retiring. Dean Harrison, DAO Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR ZXT02N, took over the mantle.
Austrian Julian Trummer, WH Racing with Dynobike Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP SC82, also pulled in at Ballacraine and retired. James Hind, North Lincs Components Suzuki GSX-R1000R L7 got as far as Sulby before his race was over.
The Peter Hickman, Michael Dunlop and Dean Harrison bandwagon rolled on although they were hardly rolling. Hickman, Monster Energy by FHO Racing BMW M1000RR K66, lapped at 134.068mph and headed Michael Dunlop, MD Racing Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SC82, by 1.824 seconds. The gap between Dunlop and Harrison had extended to 11.676s. Conor Cummins, now showing no ill effects from his illness, was fourth and Jamie Coward fifth.
Gasolene alley was a busy place as the compulsory pitstops took place at the end of the lap. Frenchman Almaric Blanc retired his Team B&M / Team Gazzz 58 BMW S1000RR K67 when he stopped at his pit.
Hickman had extended his lead over Dunlop to 5.150s at the end of the second lap and he in turn had extended his lead over Harrison by 23.093 seconds. Conor Cummins, Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP SC82 held onto fourth place, with Jamie Coward, KTS Racing powered by Steadplan Honda CBR1000RR - R SP SC82 in fifth, and Josh Brookes, Monster Energy by FHO Racing BMW M1000RR K66 in sixth. Conor's teammate Davy Todd was struggling in 20th position and retired in the pits at the end of the lap.
Peter Hickman was piling on the pressure and had set the fastest ever sector time to Glen Helen cue mega excitement in the commentary box. He had broken Dean Harrison's five year old record and increased his lead to over 6 seconds. History was being made, the thousands lining the course were witnessing something very special.
The lead over Dunlop had increased to 8s at Ballaugh and 13.2s at the Bungalow. The gap had extended to 17.185 at the chequered flag and the lap time was verging on the unbelievable. The FHO rider had set a new outright lap record for the Mountain Course of 136.358mph in a time of 16m 36.115s and set a new RL360 Superstock 3 lap race record of 50m 48.301s, 133.676mph.
Dunlop was second, Harrison was third and Cummins fourth, all averaging over 130mph. Josh Brookes recorded a personal best lap of 131.759mph in finishing sixth. Ryan Cringle, AGR Motorsports Honda - T-Bike CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP SC82, was the best newcomer in 19th place, he had a fastest lap of 126.096mph on his final lap.
Michael Russell, Pipewerx Exhausts BMW S1000RR K46, carried on with his impressive performances in finishing 28th and receiving a finisher plaque.
There were 34 finishers gaining 10 silver replicas, 12 bronze replicas and 12 finishers plaques. It was a sensational race. The age old question will be asked, can speeds go any quicker? The answer, of course, is yes because they always do. It is just a question of when.
The fans had barely digested what they had witnessed when it was time for the Carole Nash Supertwin Race 2 at 3 o'clock. Michael Dunlop was looking to repeat his performance from Race 1, victory would equal Ian Hutchinson's 5 wins in a week and put him level with uncle Joey on 26 wins.
Dominic Herbertson, John M Paterson Ltd / CC Engineering Kawasaki Z650, was the first of the 34 bikes to start the race. This is another class that requires an improved depth of field. Michael Dunlop, MD Racing Paton S1-R, was the favourite and he led by a second at Glen Helen from Mike Browne, Burrows Engineering / RK racing Paton S1-R, who was second in Race 1.
Peter Hickman, PHR Performance Yamaha R7, was third and Jamie Coward fourth. Paul Jordan, PreZ Racing by Prosper² Kawasaki ER-6f, had stopped and then retired at Harold's near Gorse Lea. Jamie Coward, KTS Racing powered by Steadplan Kawasaki z-650, was reported as stopped at Kirk Michael and was making adjustments. He was then announced as having retired a little further down the road.
Dunlop extended his lead over Browne to 3.3s at Ballaugh and 5.2s at Ramsey. Hickman had now drifted to 9.2s behind Brown but led fourth placed Josh Brookes, Dafabet Racing Kawasaki ER-6f, by 8 seconds.
The shock news came through that Michael Dunlop was out of the race and had retired at Windy Corner. Sadly there would be no records for Michael today. Mike Brown led by 11.6s as they entered the pits for the compulsory pit stop. Brookes was third and he was followed by Pierre-Yves Bian, Stefano Bonetti, Dominic Herbertson, Rob Hodson and Michael Rutter. Michael Rutter retired his Batham Ales R7 Yamaha at the pits.
An extended pitstop had relegated Brookes to 7th, Browne was now 12.1s ahead of Hickman at Glen Helen. Browne's lead was 15s at Ramsey Hairpin and only 17s covered third to sixth positions. Browne crossed the line 14.088s ahead of Hickman but immediately pulled off the course with a clutch problem. Hickman inherited the lead and was comfortably in front of Dominic Herbertson by 37.701s. Bian was 4.972s behind in third with Brookes in fourth, Bonetti in fifth and Hodson in sixth place.
Hickman had increased his lead to 40s at Glen Helen from Herbertson and Bian. There was more drama to come when Dominic Herbertson retired at Barreggarrow, elevating Bian to second and Brookes to third. Hickman was now leading the race and on the road. Brookes had started the race 10 seconds ahead of Bian at the start and had now got ahead of Bian on the road. He needed to pull out a ten second gap if he was to secure the runner up spot.
Hickman claimed his second win of the day, his third of the week and his 13th in total when he crossed the line. His margin of victory was 47.784s over Pierre-Yves Bian, VAS Engine/Laser Scanning Paton S1-R, with Josh Brookes in third. Brookes had got past Bian but couldn't break the tow and pull back the 10s starting interval. Bian was the first rider from mainland Europe to have gained a rostrum position since German Helmut Dahne in 1986.
Xavier Denis, PerformanX Racing Team 650cc Kawasaki, was unhurt when he slid off at the Gooseneck on the last lap. Ryan Cringle was also a third lap retirement.
Michael Browne had set the fastest lap of the race at 121.069mph. There were 23 finishers of which 9 received silver replicas, 11 bronze replicas and 3 finishers plaques were awarded.
It was a remarkable day by any standards, will the outright lap record go again during tomorrow's Senior TT