You could sense the anticipation around the grandstand, around the whole Dundrod course ahead of the showpiece event of this year’s FonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix, the MMB Surfacing Superbike race.
For once Peter Hickman didn’t take an early lead, as respected rival fellow ‘Double H’ member Dean Harrison powered down the Flying Kilo into the race lead.
By the time lap 1 was complete Harrison was still in front of Hickman, but by only 0.117 of a second. Milenco by Padgetts Conor Cummins held third and was only a further 0.533 behind Harrison.
Onto lap two and world’s fastest road racer Hickman jumped into the race lead, which he maintained and some towards the lap completion, holding a two second plus advantage over now Manx star Cummins, with previous lap leader Harrison dropping back to third.
Laps three & four saw Hickman go through the gears, pulling almost five seconds clear on lap three, before moving six seconds clear of Cummins, Harrison on lap four.
Although lap five would see Hickman’s race lead reduced to under five seconds, you still had the feeling that he was as in previous races, calmly controlling things out front.
Doing everything he had to do, allied to keeping his composure, hitting the lines, keeping it smoothish! Hickman crossed the chequered flag at the end of the sixth and final lap, to secure MMB Surfacing feature Superbike race spoils.
Hickman’s feature race success also saw him equal Philip McCallen’s tally of five victories at an Ulster GP meeting.
Finishing runner-up to Hickman, just three seconds behind, was Dunlop Senior TT winner Harrison, following a late surge of pace from the prodigiously talented Bradford racer.
Lead Honda runner Cummins completed the podium finishers, whilst Ashcourt Racing’s Lee Johnston enjoyed another strong 1000cc race stint, finishing in fourth place.
IRRC Superbike Champion elect Davey Todd finished fifth as Metzeler King of The Roads series leader Derek Sheils concluded the first six finishers.
Positions 7th-10th were clinched by Honda Racing’s David Johnson, Optimark Road Racing’s in form Xavier Denis, David ‘Action’ Jackson and East Yorkshireman Michael Booth.
Words by Stevie Rial