TT 2018: ‘It all feels pretty special’ says Senior winner Hickman
Peter Hickman is the toast of the Isle of Man having not only won the Senior TT but also having set an incredible outright lap record of 135.452mph on his sixth and final lap.
Along with Dean Harrison and Michael Dunlop, the Smiths Racing BMW rider – who took his first TT win earlier in the week with victory in the Superstock race – was expected to be contesting the race win and he put himself in contention from the start, completing the opening lap just 1.4s. The gap stayed the same on lap two but from that moment on, each lap became split in two halves as Harrison pulled away on the bottom sector, only for Hickman to reduce the deficit in the second.
Hickman first broke the outright lap record on the fourth lap, 134.456mph, so going into the final third of the race, the gap between the two was back to 1.4s. Harrison got his advantage as high as 6.2s but Hickman was confident that if he could keep Harrison within his reach, he’d have a chance in the closing stages.
“I knew Dean would be fast and I expected Michael (Dunlop) to be there as well and on this occasion I made a good start to put myself into second place on the opening lap,” said Hickman afterwards. “I was quite happy with that as I was only a few seconds behind whilst I’d been strong all week over the Mountain as it suits my style. The gap to Dean would grow and then come back down and I thought if I could get it down to a few seconds at Ballaugh on the final lap, I’d be in with a real good chance.”
Harrison extended his lead to 5.7s on the penultimate lap but at Glen Helen on the sixth and final lap, it was down to 3.7s and from that moment on, Hickman was in the ascendancy although it wasn;t until the Bungalow that he finally nosed ahead.
“I had three pit boards out on the course and the only time I saw ‘P1’ was at the Creg ny Baa on the final lap so I just kept my head down and made sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I did catch a backmarker at Governor’s Bridge on the final lap which caused a bit of alarm but I just rode around the outside of him which probably made him jump a bit!
“Conditions were perfect and the bike has been working perfectly all fortnight but it was a tough race and, as expected, it’s been an up and down fortnight. It normally is so to be sitting here now as the Senior TT winner, the first rider to do a lap in excess of 135mph and the outright lap record holder feels pretty special.”