TT 2019: Superbike victory for Peter Hickman in red-flagged race

Peter Hickman celebrates his RST Superbike victory at the Isle of Man TT with runner-up Dean Harrison.
Peter Hickman celebrates his RST Superbike victory at the Isle of Man TT with runner-up Dean Harrison.
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Peter Hickman sealed his third Isle of Man TT victory in Monday's red-flagged RST Superbike race.

The Smiths Racing BMW rider opted to run a hybrid version of his S1000RR Superbike after encountering issues with the new 2019-spec machine at the North West 200 and again during practice at the TT.

The 32-year-old reeled in Dean Harrison on lap two on the run from Ramsey to claim an advantage of 1.7 seconds over the Silicone Engineering Racing rider heading into their pit stops.

Bradford man Harrison had made his usual flying start and managed to pull a lead of almost five seconds over outright lap record holder Hickman by Ballaugh on lap two.

However, the two-time TT winner began to experience an issue with his new ZX-10RR Superbike on the run over the Mountain, allowing Hickman to take over on the time sheets.

Following a faster pit stop, Harrison had reduced the deficit to 0.6 seconds, but the scheduled four-lap race was stopped on the third lap following an incident at Snugborough, a fast section of the course that lies between Braddan and Union Mills. Sadly, it was later confirmed that England's Daley Mathison had died in a crash.

A result was declared based on positions at the end of lap two, giving Hickman another big bike triumph at the TT after his record-breaking Senior win in 2018.

Harrison lost out by only 1.7seconds, while Manx rider Conor Cummins was a further 9.3 seconds back in third place as he earned another TT podium on the Milenco by Padgett’s Racing Honda.

Hickman – who set the fastest lap of the race on his second lap at 132.95mph – admitted the manner of his latest win around the Mountain Course was not particularly satisfying, although the British Superbike contender was pleased with his performance on his Smiths BMW.

“It’s never great to finish a race like that and it was a shortened race, so you never quite feel that you won it when it is shortened like that,” Hickman said.

“Just to reiterate what the guys were saying, I hope whoever is involved in the incident is fine and okay.

“The bike was working good and as we all know, we had very little practice all week. I also missed Sunday last week because I was at Donington Park racing in BSB, so I was a few laps down on the boys.

“The Smiths Racing team did a fantastic job and the new S1000RR is working well, but we had a problem with the Superbike yesterday afternoon and when we realised we weren’t going to get any more practice, the boys made a bit of a hybrid bike,” he added.

“It’s actually a Superstock bike with a Superbike front-end and rear-end in it with the swing arm and stuff, and the engine in that bike is a genuine road bike unit that anyone can buy.

“To get the first Superbike win out of the way is absolutely fantastic.”

Harrison roared into an early lead in the shortened race, which was originally due to take place on Saturday until poor weather turned practice week on its head.

His opening lap of 132.483mph gave him the upper hand by only one second, but he led all the way until the final two sectors of the race, when Hickman clawed back ground on the charge over the Mountain.

Harrison said: “Everything went well but I had a problem with the bike on lap two when it felt as though it was surging, or almost cutting (out).

“After the pit stop it was fine all the way to Ballaugh, so why it’s doing that I don’t know and we’ll have to look into it for next time.

“The lads did a good job, the pit stop was slick and it’s just frustrating what happened but I hope whoever it is, is okay.

“The bike never missed a beat on the first lap and I could see Conor coming out of the Cronk on lap one, so I knew I had made some time,” he added.

“I was really struggling with the wind over the Mountain and I was getting buffeted about quite a bit. I have put some more work in (on Mountain section) and I felt strong, but I really struggled with the wind.”

Ramsey man Cummins clinched another rostrum in third.

“The Milenco by Padgett’s Superbike was flying today and it’s been the same for everyone with the lack of practice, but I got off to a steady start and I tried to be consistent and pick up where I left off last year,” he said.

“I’m just really happy to be third and obviously it hasn’t gone the full race distance and we only had two-and-a-half laps in, and it goes without saying that I hope whoever has fallen is okay.”

James Hillier finished fourth on his Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki, 41.7 seconds down on the winner, with Michael Rutter taking a solid fifth on the Bathams/Aspire-Ho Honda RCV.

Michael Dunlop was the leading Northern Ireland rider in sixth on his Tyco BMW as he finished 2.7 seconds behind Rutter, while the top eight was rounded out by David Johnson (Honda Racing) and Jamie Coward (Prez Racing Yamaha).

John McGuinness on the Norton and Derek McGee were among the retirements.