TT 2022: Hickman Retains Superbike Title, Breaks Existing Race Record

TT 2022: Hickman Retains Superbike Title, Breaks Existing Race Record
With top class weather, allied to the majority of racers gaining huge mileage during practice week, the general sense in Parc Ferme ahead of opening race action, was that top-end lap speeds were in prospect this afternoon.

Whilst the atmosphere looked positive from the outside looking-in, once you delved deeper there was many riders disappointed not to have made the six-lap race.

Competitors not racing included Dave Hewson, Rhys Hardisty, Team Classic Suzuki’s Tom Weeden and James Chawke.

Holding not for the first time, the number one plate, John McGuinness MBE making his 100th TT start, was first to blast off down Bray Hill.

Lap 1:

Just over four seconds covered the top six at the first timing point, Glen Helen. World’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman held an early advantage of 0.649 over Davey Todd, DAO Racing’s Dean Harrison was only 0.368 in arrears to Todd.

Conor Cummins, Michael Dunlop, Rich Energy OMG Racing’s James Hillier rounded out the top six.

By Ballaugh Bridge, Gas Monkey Garage by FHO Racing’s Hickman moved three seconds plus clear over Todd, Harrison remained third.

Next timing point at Ramsey Hairpin saw Hickman extend the race-lead to now six seconds over new second place holder Harrison, who had overhauled McGuinness MBE to lead on the road.

Todd now third was only 0.004 of a second behind Harrison, Cummins, Dunlop were evenly matched holding respective fourth, fifth positions.

Looking in ominously smooth, controlled form, Hickman went further clear at the Bungalow, leading new second place holder Cummins by 7.547 seconds.

As lap one concluded, Hickman lapping at 133.178 mph from a standing-start headed Harrison by 9.343 seconds. Cummins back in third was only 0.770 behind Harrison.

Cummins Milenco by Padgetts team-mate Todd, setting a new personal best lap speed of 131.73 mph held fourth, 19 times TT winner Dunlop was fifth as Ashcourt Racing’s Lee Johnston wrapped up the top six.

Lap 2:

Averaging 140.45 mph to Glen Helen, Hickman extended his already impressive race-lead to 11.944 seconds over Harrison.

Todd jumped up to third, just in front of 11 plate holder Cummins.

Cummins was back into third at Ballaugh Bridge, Todd then retired at Sulby Straight, whilst excitement was brewing up at the Grandstand, with race-leader Hickman on lap record breaking pace.

Although he didn’t beat his existing lap-record, a rapid flying lap of 133.46 mph, consistent pace over the Mountain enabled Hickman to move almost 17 seconds ahead of Harrison, as lap two finalised.

With Cummins not making it to Cronk Ny Mona, this allowed Dunlop to slot into third with KTS Racing Powered by Steadplan’s Jamie Coward holding a fine fourth.

Lee Johnston retired at Quarter Bridge whilst Top TT newcomer, fellow Countryman Glenn Irwin held tenth and had already recorded a brace of 128 mph lap-speeds.

Lap 3:

Post pit-stops, Hickman’s lead maintained around 18, 18.1 seconds at Glen Helen on lap three.

18.966 seconds was Hickman’s lead at Ballaugh, Dunlop still occupied third behind Harrison.

Additional confirmed retirements in what was becoming a race of attrition included Michael Browne, Michael Sweeney, Derek Sheils, Richard Charlton and Gary Johnson.

By the Bungalow, Hickman led Harrison by almost twenty seconds.

Dunlop overtaken by Hickman at Windy Corner, was holding a safe third.

At mid-race distance Hickman headed Harrison by 22.826 seconds. Dunlop third was 18.597 in arrears to Bradford’s Harrison.

Lap 4:

25.4 ahead at Glen Helen, 26.4 at Ballaugh Bridge, Hickman’s grip on race proceedings continued on lap four.

Lap four’s conclusion saw Hickman enjoy a 36 plus seconds advantage over Harrison, who was coming under increasing pressure from six plate holder Dunlop.

Boosted by a 133-mph lap, Dunlop was only six seconds behind reigning Senior class Champion Harrison.

McGuinness MBE producing a typically accomplished display held fourth.

Whilst P5, P6 were the evenly matched Hutchinson and anticipated Super Twins front-runner Coward.

Lap 5:

Although slicing a few seconds off Hickman’s lead, post second scheduled pit-stop, Harrison was still over half a minute down on his respected rival at Glen Helen.

DC Racing’s Mike Norbury slid-off uninjured at Ramsey Hairpin whilst the race for final podium finishing positions wasn’t over with a determined Dunlop, hunting down Harrison.

The margin between Dunlop, Harrison at Ramsey was only 8.151 seconds.

As lap five entered its’ conclusion, Hickman had moved over forty seconds clear of the Harrison, Dunlop battle for second.

McGuinness MBE, Milwaukee BMW Motorrad’s Hutchinson were duking it out for fourth whilst Hebden Bridge’s Coward held sixth.

Lap 6:

Onto the final lap and could anything stop Hickman from claiming a second successive Superbike TT victory.

The answer was resoundingly no as Hickman maintained a metronomic, stern pace to take his sixth TT triumph and set a new Superbike TT race-record.

It’s also suitors FHO Racing’s first roads success and his 24th International road race victory in total.

DAO Racing Kawasaki’s Harrison thanks to a personal best lap-speed of 132.79 mph, consolidated second ahead of top Suzuki runner Dunlop.

Speaking via Manx Radio runner-up Harrison said “Fair play to Pete” “The bike never missed a beat, the DAO Racing bike has been faultless all week, can’t complain at all”.

Third place finisher Dunlop added on Manx Radio: “Pete’s riding fantastic” “Lots of boys on the road, just couldn’t dip in where I wanted to, it was a good race, good to get six-lap under our belt.”

Race winner Hickman stated on Manx Radio “It was a good standing start-lap” “Awesome, to win the first race, start week as we mean to go on.”

16 times TT victor Hutchinson took fourth whilst McGuinness MBE ended his 100th TT race in fifth, only 0.438 in front of Coward.

Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s James Hiller placed seventh whilst P8 went to new fastest TT newcomer in history Glenn Irwin.

Irwin’s record-breaking last lap speed stood at 129.85 mph, 17 minutes 26.049 seconds.

Wrapping up the top ten finishers were Shaun Anderson and Pre TT Classic hat-trick hero Dominic Herbertson.

Others claiming excellent finishes included:

Rob Hodson (13th), Matt Stevenson (15th), Mark Goodings (16th), newcomer Milo Ward (17th), America’s Brandon Cretu (21st) and Peoples Bike Team’s Jonathan Perry (25th).

Photo credit: Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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