Peter Hickman claimed his first ever victory at the Isle of Man TT Races this afternoon, and the second for the Gloucester-based Smiths Racing Team, when he took a sensational win on the Smiths BMW S1000RR in the four-lap RL360º Superstock race.
And with a new lap record as well, it completed a superb day for the 31 year old from Lincoln having finished third in the Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 earlier in the day.
With good conditions all day around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, Hickman’s Superstock race got off to the worst possible start when he ran straight on at Braddan Bridge, dropping all the way down the order to tenth as he lost around 15 seconds.
However, he quickly got back into his rhythm to move up to third by the end of the opening lap and, second time around, he smashed the class lap record with a speed of 134.077mph. Despite that, there was still only three seconds covering Hickman and main rivals Michael Dunlop and Dean Harrison, with his lead being only 1.2 seconds.
The gaps continued to fluctuate and at Ramsey on the fourth and final lap, Peter only led Dunlop by 0.146s but with some record sector times over the Mountain, he edged away to eventually win by 4.4 seconds, with his final lap of 134.403mph setting a new Superstock lap record and only just outside the outright lap record set by Harrison on Saturday.
In what was a superb day for Peter and the team, he’d earlier finished in third place in the opening Supersport encounter where, despite limited track time during practice week on the Trooper Triumph by Smiths Racing machine, a good opening lap of 126.669mph enabled him to move into third place.
At half race distance he was still occupying the same position. 3.7 seconds clear of fourth placed James Hillier but coming into pitlane for the solitary pit stop, he lost some time as he struggled to locate his pit speed limiter button and erred on the side of caution with his speed rather than pick up a penalty for exceeding the 60km/h limit. It meant Hillier was able to overhaul him on lap three and going into the final lap, Peter was 1.5 seconds in arrears.
However, he flew on the final lap and with a superb speed of 128.181mph – the quickest ever by a Triumph machine – Hicky got back into third to claim the final podium position and such was his pace, he was only 0.258 seconds adrift of runner-up Dean Harrison at the chequered flag.
Peter Hickman: “Sitting here now as a TT winner feels pretty good! I thought I’d fluffed it at the start though when I overshot on the way into Braddan and I had to stop, reverse and then turn around again before I could get going and I must have lost 15 seconds at least. After that, I got my head down and it’s probably the hardest I’ve ever ridden around here whilst the wind also caught me out a couple of times over the Mountain as it was constantly changing direction. I’ve been fast on the Superstock bike all week and clawed my way back up to third at the end of the first lap, so I thought I was still in with a chance. I just got my head down and rode as hard as I could so this means a lot to me, my family and the team. With a podium in the Supersport race after a really good scrap with James Hillier, it’s been a good day and certainly makes up for the retirement in Saturday’s Superbike race.”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “Winning our second TT, and first in a big bike race, feels brilliant and although we haven’t been coming here that long, it does feel like it’s been a long time coming. I’m over the moon for Peter and both he and the whole team have worked exceptionally hard all week and, after the disappointment of the retirement on Saturday, through no-one’s fault, it’s a big, big relief. It feels fantastic to win another TT race.”
RL 360 Superstock race (4 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)
2 Michael Dunlop (BMW)
3 Dean Harrison (Kawasaki)
4 David Johnson (BMW)
5 James Hillier (Kawasaki)
6 Michael Rutter (BMW)
Monster Energy Supersport race (4 laps)
1 Michael Dunlop (Honda)
2 Dean Harrison (Kawasaki)
3 Peter Hickman (Trooper Triumph by Smiths Racing)
4 James Hillier (Kawasaki)
5 Conor Cummins (Honda)
6 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
Pictures attached courtesy of Stephen Davison.