Peter Hickman gave an Isle of Man masterclass in the second RL360 Superstock TT, scoring his 11th career TT victory and obliterating the outright lap record on his FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR.
Anticipation was high for a record-breaking day on the Mountain course today, with Michael Dunlop poised to equal and potentially beat his uncle Joey’s total of 26 TT wins, but in the end it was Hickman who was first to enter the history books, as the first rider to average over 136mph around the 37.73 mile course.
Out of the blocks Hickman made his intentions clear. The pair traded places through the timing points on the opening laps but, following the pit stop at the end of lap one Hickman upped the pace and posted a staggering 136.358mph average on lap three to not only smash the class lap record, but to go almost a full mile per hour faster than his Superbike TT lap record set in 2018. Hickman crossed the line over 17 seconds ahead of Dunlop at the flag, with Dean Harrison completing the podium with another third place – his fifth in as many races at TT2023. The trio have completed every solo big bike podium at this year’s event, with only the first Carole Nash Supertwin TT, in which Harrison does not compete, having different occupants.
The Superstock TT also sets up a classic six-lap Senior TT encounter tomorrow. Dunlop won the Superbike TT on Sunday, with Hickman having some issues with his Superbike specification machine, and Hicky hasn’t ruled out the possibility of running the less powerful ‘stock’ bike for the blue riband race.
Speaking after the race, a delighted Hickman said: “It’s brilliant. I’m happy for my team as they have been working so hard for me this week. It wasn’t easy, it’s never easy, but I’m on form and the team’s on form, and everyone’s really pushing the boat out. The crowd were really cheering us on, waving their programmes as we went through, and that was really good to see as well. The Superstock bike is working so good. I was a bit slow out of the start. I didn’t feel myself, a bit tired and achy, and I was a bit steady away to start with, and then I really built into it from there.
“I don’t know (if I’ll use the Superstock bike in the Senior TT). We need to talk about it tonight. The Superstock bike has its advantages in some areas, and the Superbike has its advantages in others, so we need to make an educated and calculated decision for tomorrow.”
Dunlop will have another chance to score his 26th win in this afternoon’s second Carole Nash Supertwin TT, where he will start as favourite. Dunlop won Tuesday’s opening Supertwin skirmish, with Hickman fourth on a brand-new Yamaha R7. Although Hicky’s team would appear to have found more power from the R7 ahead of this afternoon’s race, the combination of Dunlop and his Paton will be hard to beat.