Belfast Telegraph

Hickman lapping up new title of world's fastest road racer

 

By Roy Harris

Peter Hickman has come a long way since his Dundrod debut in 2014 when he became the fastest ever newcomer around the 7.4mile circuit with a lap of 131.198mph in the 150 Superbike race to being the fastest road racer in the world after his 134.210mph lap on his way to winning the Dundrod 150 on Thursday.

The 30-year-old is a rare phenomenon these days, winning and finishing second in the British Superbike races at Thruxton less than a week ago before taking Dundrod by storm with pole position for MCE UGP Superbike, Superstock and Supersport races today.

What makes it all the more remarkable is the fact that Hickman is racing a different version of the Smiths BMW Superbike at Dundrod - as he calls it his TT bike - different tyres (Dunlop instead of Pirelli at BSB) and rides the Trooper Beer by Smiths Supersport Triumph, which he only races three times a season.

It makes no difference to Hickman given his performance at Dundrod, where he will start as favourite in all five races he competes in today, bringing Phillip McCallen's record of five victories in a day in 1996 into play.

It is a big ask, but if anyone can do it Hickman can, as he is on top of his form this season taking five podiums from five races during the TT in June before his record breaking performance on Thursday.

Feeling confident about today, Hickman said: "Everything has been going good.

"The Smiths BMW has been working really well and it has been mega all week.

"I'm confident going into the racing after practice and qualifying, but they are one thing, the racing is another and you don't know what will happen," Hickman added.

"Nobody is that far behind, it's not like we are miles in front. Superstock and Superbike poles are by like 0.10sec, so we are not running away with things.

"It will be close and the boys will keep me honest and I'm looking forward to some real good close racing - and fingers crossed we still come out on top," he said.

When asked if he would make any changes to the bike for today's action after Thursday's performance, the relaxed and positive Hickman commented: "There's not much to do, not even a click.

"We'll kick the tyres a bit and put some fuel in and we are ready to go."

Hicky may be the favourite, but expect close competition from Dean Harrison, Dan Kneen, Conor Cummins, Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey, Derek Sheils and Lee Johnston today.

Will the lap record go again? Don't be surprised if it does.

Hickman's comments came as MMB Surfacing were confirmed as the official sponsors of today's opening Superbike race, a company with a strong racing connection.

The business is owned by former Grand Prix rider Eugene McManus and his brother Danny while Eugene Jr is an up and coming star currently fourth in the British Motostar Championship.

Roads close this morning at 9.30am followed by a Tribute Lap to Dr Fred McSorley, who retires from his job as Flying Doctor after today's racing with the racing action commencing with the Superstock race over six high-speed laps.

Belfast Telegraph

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