Peter Hickman and the Smiths Racing BMW team got their Ulster Grand Prix campaign off to the perfect start this afternoon when he not only won the Dundrod 150 Superbike race, but also became the fastest road racer in the world when he set a new outright lap record at 134.210mph.
The 30 year old from Louth had claimed pole position yesterday aboard the Smiths Racing BMW and grabbed the lead in today’s six-lap race from the moment the lights turned green, leading Conor Cummins by half a second at the end of the first 7.4-mile lap.
Second time around, Hickman, who won a race at the Thruxton MCE British Superbike meeting on Sunday, increased his pace to 133.912mph as Bruce Anstey moved up to second but Hicky responded to the Kiwi’s threat by smashing Ian Hutchinson’s year-old lap record on the third lap of the track near Lisburn with his own lap of over 134mph.
It allowed him to extend his lead over Anstey to 2.3 seconds which he increased to 3.6 seconds at the end of the fourth lap. A further tenth was added on lap five meaning he was able to control the race perfectly on the final lap, easing off as he crossed the line, his eventual winning margin over Dean Harrison being 1.9 seconds.
Earlier today, Hickman’s sparkling form on the Smiths Racing BMW and Trooper Beer/Smiths Triumph had seen him claim pole position for Saturday’s Ulster Grand Prix Superstock and Supersport races with laps of 132.334mph and 127.33mph respectively. To add to his haul, he was also quickest in the Superbike class at 133.560mph, the fastest ever qualifying lap in the history of the event, although Saturday’s single lap ‘Superpole’ session will determine who lines up in pole position for Saturday’s two races.
Peter Hickman: “It’s great to start with a race win and mega to break the outright lap record so early in proceedings especially as I did it all by myself with no slipstream to help me. It’s hard to break away around here but I thought if I could get my head down in the first couple of laps, I might be able to do that and the race went exactly to plan. I had a near four-second lead at one point so was able to manage the race in the last two laps. It’s been faultless so far and to be fastest in every class is testament to the work being done by the whole Smiths Racing Team. All the bikes are working really well which makes my life that bit easier. It helps having the weather on our side and the course is in great shape so full credit to the organisers. I thought the lap record would go and there’s definitely still more to come, not just from myself either. It’s nice to be the fastest road racer in the world, for now at least!”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “Peter’s riding at the top of his game at the moment and what a week it’s been for Smiths Racing BMW. Our first British Superbike race win and now officially the fastest road racer and bike in the world! We had high expectations coming into the event but everything so far has perhaps exceeded those expectations. We were confident of being there or thereabouts in all the classes but to be fastest in all of them is simply superb. Getting a win today and the outright lap record is the perfect start and it’s testament to not only how well Peter is riding but also to the hard work of all the team especially Daz, Pete, Luke and Harry who went straight from Thruxton to the Ulster GP. With five races on the schedule, Saturday will be a challenging day for everyone but we’ll be giving it 100% that’s for sure.”
Pictures courtesy of Stephen Davison/Jon Jessop Photography: Peter Hickman on the podium and in action today.