BMW rider Peter Hickman won the biggest prize in road racing today, clinching the six-lap Senior TT in a race considered by many as one of the best ever races around the Isle of Man.
Having been blessed by sunny weather throughout the TT fortnight, expectations for a lap record breaking Senior were high, especially after Hickman had broken his TT duck with a sensational win in Wednesday’s Superstock race.
From the start it was Dean Harrison who set the pace on his Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. Having set a new lap record of 134.432mph in Saturday’s Superbike TT, the Yorkshireman was much fancied for the main event and made good his promise by leading for the great majority of the race.
The Bradford rider held a two second lead over Michael Dunlop as they passed through the jump at Ballaugh Bridge for the first time, with Hickman a further three seconds behind.
While Harrison held an edge over the first half of the course, Hickman’s strength would prove to be the infamous Mountain section and he pulled Harrison’s advantage back to less than one and a half seconds at the end of the first lap.
The pair recorded an almost identical lap time as they headed into the pits at the end of lap two, with local man Conor Cummins 23 seconds back in third and Dunlop unable to mount a challenge in fourth.
Harrison edged out a lead of 5.8 seconds on lap three but his rival put the hammer down to set a new lap record of 134.456 on lap four. As they entered the final 37.73 mile lap, Harrison held a slender advantage of less than two seconds. The Kawasaki man lowered his own record with a 134.918mph lap, despite losing around four seconds behind backmarkers, on his final lap, but behind him the popular British superbike championship rider was also flying and became the first rider to average over 135mph at the TT, setting a 16:42.778 (135.452mph) lap to take the win by just over two seconds.
“I am usually steady at the start,” Hickman said after the race. “I could see from my pit boards that I was second and figured that if I was five or six seconds behind at Ballaugh on the last lap then I would have a chance to take it back over the Mountain, as that section suits my short circuit style. The first time I saw ‘P1’ on my pitboard was at the Creg ny Baa on the last lap, and I am just delighted for all of the Smiths BMW team as they have worked so hard for this victory.”
Hickman’s last lap record means that he becomes the fastest road racer ever, claiming the honour from Harrison, who had recorded a 134.614mph average lap around the Dundrod circuit at last year’s Ulster GP.
Conor Cummins went on to claim fourth for the Padgett’s Honda squad, with Dunlop a subdued fourth on the Tyco BMW, with Josh Brookes going under the radar to finish fifth for Norton. The impressive Davey Todd was top newcomer, in ninth place overall.