You don’t apply the term legendary lightly to sportsman but in Peter Hickman’s case after his momentous exploits at the FonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix, it’s more than applicable.
Simply dominant throughout this week’s UGP competition, Hickman who equalled Philip McCallen’s record of five victories in a day at Dundrod, showcased why he is regarded by pretty much every roads scene aficionado as the current no.1 International Road Racing exponent.
Since stepping onto the roads in 2014, Hickman’s rise up the International Road Racing order has been nothing short of incredible.
Last year’s Senior TT winner, prior to his unbeatable form at Dundrod, he enjoyed a very productive TT 2019 tenure, scooping three victories and in total five podium finishes with only technical gremlins halting his retention of the Senior TT crown.
Reflecting on his Ulster GP exploits, there’s various reasons why he proved so formidable, his obvious pace, feeling at one with his machinery, been in top form, ultra race fit and having spot on race management.
It might be a term echoed more in Formula 1, Moto GP, British Superbikes, World Superbikes but it’s also a vital attribute you need to be exemplary at to become a multiple International Road Race winner.
Hickman illustrated this quality in full within the MMB Surfacing feature Superbike race which saw him keep his cool out front in the closing laps with Dean Harrison, Conor Cummins each taking over 2 seconds out of his race lead, which at one point stood at plus six seconds.
Ultimately victorious by 3.018 seconds, you couldn’t but compliment again the race craft, astute race tactics employed by Smiths Racing’s Hickman.
Photo by Tommy Vennard
The first racer to lap Dundrod at over the 136 mph lap mark, he’s taking the level at International Road Races to another level.
As aforementioned various roads scene aficionados consider him the world’s leading International Road Racer and given his performances at Dundrod who’s to argue with them.
Capable of dominating for multiple years at the International Road Races, the question we have to ask now going into the next decade is who can step up and not only compete with Hickman but get the better of him?
Logically most likely lead challengers throughout next season will include fellow ‘Double H’ member Dean Harrison, Glenn Irwin if he elects to enhance his road racing activities.
Conor Cummins who is riding better than ever, the rapid rising star, IRRC Superbike Champion elect Davey Todd ready to step up and then there’s the roads legend that is Michael Dunlop.
Dunlop, Todd, Cummins, Harrison are all more than capable of pushing, getting the better of Hickman next year at in particular the TT and Ulster GP but they all know to defeat ‘Hicky’ it’s going to take them been at the absolute peak of their powers against a racer who has no weaknesses and is in my opinion the unquestioned one to beat now at International Roads events.
Words by Stevie Rial