Peter Hickman and the Gloucester-based Smiths Racing BMW team ended their 2018 Isle of Man TT Races in the best way possible as the 31 year old won a dramatic PokerStars Senior TT and set a new outright lap record of 135.452mph. It was the first ever 135mph+ lap of the Mountain Course and Hickman’s second win of the week.
Having won the Superstock race on Monday, his first ever TT win, Hickman came into the PokerStars Senior TT, the Blue Riband event of race week, in confident mood as he looked to take the BMW S1000RR to the top step once more and with good conditions all around the 37.73-mile circuit, everything was set for a thrilling conclusion.
As expected, Dean Harrison was quickest out of the blocks but his opening lap of 133.678mph was only marginally quicker than Peter’s speed of 133.492mph, which gave the Kawasaki rider a 1.4s advantage.
From this moment on, the two riders were involved in a game of high speed cat and mouse with Harrison the quicker on the first half of the circuit and Peter the quicker over the second, which included the ascent and descent of the Snaefell Mountain.
At the end of the second lap, the gap between the two was, remarkably, the same but it looked like Harrison had stolen a march on Peter as he opened up a six-second lead at half race distance.
However, Peter set a new outright lap record on the fourth lap of 134.456mph, which reduced the gap to just 1.402s. Again, Harrison pulled away on the bottom half of the circuit, with Peter falling 6.2s adrift but he reduced this to 1.9s going into the sixth and final lap.
A repeat of the previous lap occurred once more and on this occasion, Hicky had to pull back a 5.7s deficit from Ballaugh which is exactly what he did and 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 and with a sensational new outright lap record of 135.452mph, he got the better of Harrison by two seconds.
Peter Hickman: “I knew Dean would be fast and I expected Michael (Dunlop) to be there as well and on this occasion I made a good start to put myself into second place on the opening lap. I was quite happy with that as I was only a few seconds behind whilst I’d been strong all week over the Mountain as it suits my style. The gap to Dean would grow and then come back down and I thought if I could get it down to a few seconds at Ballaugh on the final lap, I’d be in with a real good chance.
“I had three pit boards out on the course and the only time I saw ‘P1’ was at the Creg ny Baa on the final lap so I just kept my head down and made sure I didn’t make any mistakes. Conditions were perfect and the bike has been working perfectly all fortnight so a big thanks to the whole Smiths Racing BMW team and to be sitting here now as the Senior TT winner, the first rider to do a lap in excess of 135mph and the outright lap record holder feels pretty special.”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “I literally don’t know what to say! It was such a nerve-wracking race and although Dean got his lead close to seven seconds at one stage, we could all see how strong Pete was over the Mountain, clawing back big chunks each and every lap. We hoped Dean wouldn’t pull too big a gap on the final lap but Peter’s lap was simply phenomenal and 135.452mph really is something special.
“To win the Superstock TT felt amazing but winning the Senior TT is something else and with the outright lap record as well, the week couldn’t have ended any better so congratulations to Pete and a huge thank you to the team for all their hard work all fortnight.”
Smiths Racing also won the Isle of Man TT Team Award for the best performance over the five races.
The team now turn their attentions back to the British Superbike Championship with Hickman and Frenchman Sylvain Barrier contesting round four at Snetterton, Norfolk on June 15-17. For further information, please visit www.smithsracing.co.uk and www.britishsuperbike.com.
Senior TT race (6 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
2 Dean Harrison (Kawasaki)
3 Conor Cummins (Honda)
4 Michael Dunlop (BMW)
5 Josh Brookes (Norton)
6 Gary Johnson (Kawasaki)
Pictures attached courtesy of Stephen Davison (Pacemaker Press International).