Hickman hat-trick finally has TT basking in sunshine
It was hats off to hat-trick hero Peter Hickman as he notched up wins two and three as the sun finally shone on the Isle of Man.
Having already tasted victory in Monday's Superbike event, the Lincolnshire rider was in the mood for more in a packed programme at the TT yesterday.
Hickman rode to a magnificent afternoon double in the Supersport and Superstock races, making it four TT wins in total, and he had the luxury of coasting to victory in the Superstock.
"It was great to get to ride the TT course, especially with the gap I had in the Superstock race, chilled out and enjoying the laps in sunshine for a change," he said.
The second Supersport race of the week was reduced to two laps and, in the best conditions of the TT fortnight, Hickman was marginally ahead by Glen Helen, the first timing point.
Dean Harrison hit back and led by half a second at Ballaugh from James Hillier, with Hickman behind in third.
Hickman was back in front at Ramsey by a mere three one hundredths of a second from Harrison and Hillier, with Conor Cummins over three seconds back in fourth.
Over the Mountain and Hickman stretched his advantage to 2.3secs at the end of the opening lap, but on the final lap at Glen Helen, Harrison hit back to lead by half a second, with Hillier now over three seconds back in third.
By Ballaugh, Hickman was back in front with fractions of seconds splitting the pair, and at the chequered flag he had a winning margin of 3.302secs over Harrison and the fastest lap of the race at 128.14mph. Hillier, Cummins, Jamie Coward and Michael Dunlop completing the top six.
This was Hickman's first Supersport race win at the TT.
"I've tried so hard to win one of these races for the Smiths Team and for Triumph, who have helped us quite a lot this year," he said.
"I'm usually a slow starter, but the practice lap this morning helped get me going.
"We've had some good input from Triumph this year, which has made a big difference.
"The bike was mega, absolutely awesome, I just had to get my finger out in the first few sectors.
"I've done 128mph laps in the Supersports before but, given the lap of track time we've had, it's pretty special. I've only had six laps on this bike during the entire fortnight."
The Superstock race was a three lap affair with a compulsory pit stop at the end of lap one and Hickman took the race by the scruff of the neck from the word go, over a second and a half ahead at the first check point from Harrison and Michael Dunlop, having his best ride of the TT so far.
At the pit stop, Hickman was over nine seconds ahead following a standing start lap of 132.02mph, with Dunlop behind second placed Harrison, both over the 130mph mark.
With Hickman clearing off at the front and Harrison established in second, all eyes were on Dunlop to see if he could manage a podium, but David Johnson was having none of it and edged ahead of the MD Racing BMW at Glen Helen on the third and final lap, with only tenths separating them.
It was still Johnson at Ramsey, but Dunlop fought back to edge ahead of the Honda at the Bungalow, only to lose out to the Australian at the chequered flag, with Johnson taking his first ever TT podium in thrilling fashion.
Hillier, who had been in fourth position prior to his pit stop, incurred a pit lane speeding 30 second penalty, dropping him to seventh at the finish.
The unstoppable Hickman commented afterwards: "I never once thought of the hat-trick. I won on this bike at the North West straight out of the box and now won here, just shows what a good bike the new BMW S1000RR is."