Belfast Telegraph

It'll get Noel off my back: Peter Hickman pleased to return top title to Ulster GP after stunning 136mph lap


Road warrior: Peter Hickman leads Dean Harrison in the Superbike race
Road warrior: Peter Hickman leads Dean Harrison in the Superbike race

By Roy Harris

Peter Hickman flew to a superb double in the opening races of the fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix last night, and obliterated the Dundrod lap record while winning the Circle K/Airport Road Service Station Superbike race.

On his third lap, Hickman went around the 7.4-mile circuit in three minutes 15.316 seconds for a remarkable speed of 136.415mph - enough to restore the Ulster Grand Prix to the title of fastest road race in the world, taking the crown from the Isle of Man TT.

Dean Harrison led for the opening two laps from Hickman, Conor Cummins and Lee Johnston, the quartet fractions of seconds apart.

Hickman said: "I got a really good slipstream out of the last corner and onto lap three, pulling alongside Dean at the end of the Flying Kilo to take the lead going towards Leathemstown.

"I knew if I could stay ahead over Deers Leap I had a good chance of pulling away. I hit all my markers and to regain the fastest road race title for the Ulster is great.

"It'll maybe get Noel (Johnston, clerk of the course) and a few off my back for taking it to the TT.

"I took a bit of stick from Noel and the Dundrod boys, so it is nice to bring the title firmly back to Dundrod.

"I may not have the top speed, but the Smiths BMW is a great package. It's a good way to start."

The race was red-flagged as the leaders were on their fourth lap after an incident at the Quarries with Hickman declared the winner by 5.681 seconds from Harrison, who had pulled 3.157 seconds from Cummins in third with Johnston 3.187 seconds behind the Manxman in fourth.

Over 10 seconds back in fifth was Davey Todd, with the Honda Racing machine of Australian David Johnston sixth.

Derek Sheils rode the BE/RK Suzuki into a fine seventh spot.

Harrison said: "Once Peter got past me, I ran wide at Leathemstown and could not make it back."

Cummins added: "It wasn't realistic for me to catch the pair in front. I just held my position and I'm happy as I haven't ridden a bike since the TT."

Hickman recorded win No.2 - his eighth at Dundrod - in a blistering five-lap Shoei Helmets Supersport race after a nose-to-tail battle with Lee Johnston.

Todd went with the pair in the early stages but was forced to retire, which allowed Harrison into third.

It all came down to the final lap. Lee Johnston said: "That was the closest run from the hairpin to the finish I have ever had. We were side-by-side through the corners until I hit the limiter. I came to win, but we got beaten fair and square and to get beaten by a few tenths by the fastest road racer in the world isn't bad."

Hickman said: "I definitely wasn't sitting waiting for the last lap. I passed Lee earlier, but he came back and I knew it would be a last-lap battle. I led out of the hairpin, but then we were side-by-side for the last mile. It was ace to ride with Lee, absolutely clean though we were so close."

A disappointed Harrison was third, well clear of Jamie Coward, Cummins and Paul Jordan.

Neil Kernohan won a nail-biting Lightweight race from Davy Morgan, the pair circulating wheel-to-wheel throughout. A red flag stopped the race just as the leaders came towards the final corner when Gareth Keys stepped off at Tornagrough uninjured.

In the concurrently ran Ultra-Lightweight race, Czech rider Michael Dokoupil headed Christian Elkin to win with Melissa Kennedy taking third spot.

Results: Superbike: 1st P. Hickman, 2nd D. Harrison, 3rd C. Cummins, 4th L. Johnston, 5th D. Todd, 6th D. Johnson

Absolute Lap Record: Hickman - 3m 15.316s - 136.415mph

Supersport: 1st P Hickman, 2nd L. Johnston, 3rd D. Harrison, 4th J. Coward, 5th C. Cummins, 6th P. Jordan

Lightweight: 1st N. Kernohan, 2nd D. Morgan, 3rd P. Williams, 4th S. Anderson, 5th K. Duncan, 6th P. Fletcher

Ultra-Lightweight: 1st M. Dokoupil, 2nd C. Elkin, 3rd Melissa Kennedy, 4th N. Moore, 5th W. Kennedy, 6th C. Meyer

Belfast Telegraph


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