Peter Hickman made it two TT wins in a day, and gave Yamaha its first win in the Carole Nash Supertwin class, as his Paton-mounted rivals ground to a halt in a real race of attrition.
It meant there was no Fairytale Friday for Michael Dunlop, as retirement on the first lap of the second Carole Nash Supertwin race saw his hopes of equalling uncle Joey’s record of 26 TT wins was put on hold for at least 24 hours.
Having come second to Hickman in the earlier RL360 Superstock race two, Dunlop went into the second Supertwin outing as hot favourite to notch up the record equalling win. The 34-year-old, winner of Tuesday’s opening Supertwin TT, took an early lead but slowed down and retired his Paton on the Mountain on the opening lap.
That gave the lead to Mike Browne, second in Tuesday’s race, on another Paton. Starting 16th, 10 places behind Dunlop, Browne had been pushing Dunlop on the timing screens all the way on the opening lap and opened up a significant lead before spluttering to a halt as he crossed the line to start the third and final lap.
Browne had been pulling away from Hickman, who showed more speed on his new Yamaha R7 after debuting it in Tuesday evening’s race. Hickman, who had destroyed the outright lap record in the earlier Superstock TT, barely made it to the Supertwin class this year, having failed to record a lap in qualifying and only getting a start after posting a lap in Tuesday morning’s warm up lap. Hicky, the winner of last year’s Supertwin TT on a Paton, has switched to the R7 this year, with the late arrival of parts meaning his machine was down on top speed compared to the Patons, but the reliability of the Yamaha pulled through to give him his 12th career TT win.
Most interest came in the battle for the final podium positions, which was being fought out between three riders looking for their first TT podium. Fan favourite Dominic Herbertson held a narrow advantage over fast Frenchman Pierre Yves Bian and two-time British Superbike champion Josh Brookes, but heartbreakingly he was another one whose highly tuned twin expired in the Manx heat, the extra Supertwin race on the 2023 calendar proving a stage too far for his Kawasaki. That left the door open for Bian and Brookes to complete the podium, Bian 47 seconds behind the winner but just two seconds in front of Brookes.
Two other potential podium runners retired their Kawasakis early in the first lap. Jamie Coward, third on Tuesday, and Paul Jordan, who finished second in the sole Supertwin race last year but suffered two DNFs this time around, both retired with mechanical issues. In a race of attrition, former Lightweight TT winner Michael Rutter retired at the end of lap one, having picked up damage on his Yamaha R7.
Speaking after the race, Hickman said: “Absolutely brilliant! PHR Performance worked so hard for this. We borrowed an engine from Michael Rutter, which got us out on Tuesday, and then yesterday they spent all day fettling it to find a few more horsepower. To be honest, the Patons still have an edge on us, but the twins are always a war of attrition and there’s a very fine balance between having enough horsepower and being reliable, and quite a few of the guys there had problems.
“It’s the first TT win for the R7 as well. It’s still really, really new. We haven’t had the bike very long, but the chassis is so, so good. If we can get a few more gee gees out of it, it will be a real weapon around here. It’s great also to be on the podium with my team-mates, Pierre who also runs under the PHR banner and Josh, who is my team-mate at FHO Racing.”
Paton mounted Bian, who also runs out of Hickman’s awning, added: “I am super happy. I gave it 100%. It is my dream to be on the TT podium. To be on the podium with Peter is amazing.”
Dafabet Racing Kawasaki rider Brookes, who was a late addition to the Supertwin class, overcame a poor pitstop to celebrate his first podium finish, he said: “It feels amazing. We set out to finish on the podium at the TT and to do it is amazing, I’m kind of speechless. It’s so hard to do a good job around here, learn as good as you need to and, every time you learn, so have to learn something more to move forward. I made a massive mistake in the pitstop there. I must have had clumsy fingers or hit the wrong button, because it didn’t start and I lost 30 seconds. I thought that was it, the race was over, but the racer instinct in me took over and so to get back to third after seeing seventh on the pit board is unreal.”