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Peter Hickman on top in Senior TT

hickman podium

Pre-race, the talk was of an epic Senior TT between the two titans of this year’s event – Peter Hickman and Michael Dunlop – but when the flag dropped Hickman proved he’s still the fastest man on the island, with a subdued Dunlop having to settle for third behind the hard-riding Dean Harrison.

Dunlop was in tremendous form throughout the TT fortnight and went into Friday’s penultimate race day with a chance of becoming the greatest TT rider of all time – with an opportunity to equal and surpass his uncle Joey’s tally of 26 TT wins.

With Hickman winning yesterday’s second RL360 Superstock TT and Dunlop breaking down while leading the second Carole Nash Supertwin TT, victory in today’s six-lap Milwaukee Senior TT – still the most prestigious prize in road racing – was his last chance to equal the record in 2023. With Hicky blitzing the outright lap record in the Superstocks, the scene was set for a magnificent finale to TT 2023.

But it was Harrison, third to Dunlop and Hickman in every TT he’s entered so far this year, who set the early pace. The Yorkshireman held a half second advantage as the bikes went through the first timing point at Glen Helen on the first lap, but with his Kawasaki seemingly lacking the top speed of Hickman’s BMW, he would concede the lead by the end of the second sector.

 

Hickman_Riding

 

From there, Hickman extended his lead to almost 12 seconds by the time of the first pit stop at the end of lap two. Harrison’s DAO Kawasaki team’s slick pit work clawed back three seconds, but by then Hickman was able to control the race to win by almost 20 seconds from the superb Harrison, with Dunlop a further 20 seconds adrift.

Dunlop and his Hawk Racing team had made some set-up changes to their Superbike TT winning Honda Fireblade, but these seemed to backfire as the 34-year-old was unable to match the front two’s pace in the opening laps. Some minor tweaks in the pitstops saw Dunlop improve his pace as the race went on, posting a 135.2mph lap on his final circulation of the 37.73 mile mountain course, but it proved to be too little, too late.

Behind them, local star Conor Cummins ended a difficult week on a high in fourth, the Manxman missing the first race weekend after being hospitalised with a virus, with Josh Brookes fifth and James Hillier taking sixth after overtaking TT legend John McGuinness on the final lap. David Johnson, Davey Todd and Rob Hodson, who posted his first ever 130mph+ lap, completed the top 10 after Michael Rutter retired his Honda RC211V-S at Glen Vine on the penultimate lap.

The record books will show that Dunlop and Hickman shared all eight solo TTs between them this year. Dunlop took out the two four-lap Monster Energy Supersport TTs, with Hicky winning the two Superstock outings. They shared the honours in the two Carole Nash Supertwin TTs and, in the six-lap Superbike races, it was one each with Dunlop taking last Sunday’s RST Superbike title and Hicky on top in today’s Senior. In a week of glorious racing and fast times, both became the only men to top 130mph on a Supersport machine, with Dunlop ultimately setting a new lap record, while Hickman set an outright course lap record of 136.358mph - on a Superstock machine!

Hicky leaves the island with 13 career TT wins, ninth in the all-time standings, while Dunlop moves on to 25 career wins – just one behind Joey Dunlop as the Greatest Of All Time.

TT 2024? We can’t wait!

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