Superbike success makes it 15 island victories for Hutchinson
Ian Hutchinson claimed his 15th victory yesterday at the Isle of Man TT races when he took a thrilling RST Superbike race on Sunday by five seconds from Peter Hickman.
Hutchinson's final run over the Mountain on the Tyco BMW saw him edge clear from Hickman's Smiths Racing machine, who claimed his maiden TT podium, with early race leader Dean Harrison taking third.
The opening lap saw Michael Dunlop in the lead with a lap of 131.135 mph, leading Harrison by 1.8secs.
Harrison in turn was only half a second ahead of James Hillier, with Hutchinson and Hickman holding on to fourth and fifth. The leading five were all above 130mph.
Race winner Hutchinson said: "I was a bit lost on lap one but I managed a bit of luck with a few people going out."
Ballymoney's favourite to win, Michael Dunlop, retired on lap two.
Dunlop's uncle, the late Joey Dunlop, holds the record of 26 solo TT wins, with Morecambe's John McGuinness on 23.
By half race distance, Hutchinson was in the lead but only by 0.4s.
Only 10.5 seconds covered the top four with Hickman and James Hillier holding station in third and fourth.
Praising his team and telling how he could not have won without them, Hutchie spoke about his pit stops.
"We had been practising our pit stops since nine this morning - since I gave the team such a hard time about it last year," he added.
"Coming up to the last lap there were a lot of back markers getting involved and since making the decision to switch tyres from Metzler to Dunlop, it was either going to work or not work.
"It was my choice."
Coming into the pits at the end of lap four there again was only 10 seconds covering the leading quartet but Hutchinson's prowess up and down the mountain gave him a four-second lead with then Hickman in second.
His gap to Harrison was only 1.6s with Hillier only a further four seconds behind.
Going into the final lap Hutchinson was steal in the lead, however the gap between first and second was becoming narrow. Hickman further reduced the gap coming into the Ramsey hairpin by 1.6s and it was all going to come down to the run up and down the Mountain.
But with a final lap of 130mph, it was Hutchinson who prevailed by five seconds despite Hickman having the faster lap of 131mph over the course.
Hickman said: "We haven't had a massive amount of time on the bikes this week and I haven't got that much experience here.
"To come away with a second on the first race of the week is perfect."
The returning Guy Martin on the Honda Racing machine was out from the result of a crash, fortunately without injury at the beginning of the race.
But sadly, rider number 71, Davey Lambert was involved in an accident at Greeba Castle and was taken to hospital where his condition was described as critically ill, with multiple injuries.