Belfast Telegraph

Seven-up Hickman hails team effort as he powers into Ulster Grand Prix history books

 

Fab five: Peter Hickman hails his five victories at the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday, equalling 1996
Fab five: Peter Hickman hails his five victories at the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday, equalling 1996

By Roy Harris

What an Ulster Grand Prix for 32-year old Peter Hickman - he started seven races over Thursday and Saturday and won all seven, something that has never been done before, as he equalled Phillip McCallen's 1996 record of five wins in one day.

In addition, during Thursday's Superbike race the Lincolnshire rider set the current fastest lap in the world at 136.416mph.

Saturday was a contrast to the sunshine of Thursday with racing delayed due to low cloud over part of the circuit and racing in jeopardy.

But Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston and his team of officials, medical teams, hardy spectators, in fact anyone involved with the running of the event, deserve a huge amount of credit for not giving up, making all the right decisions with the competitors putting on an amazing display of road racing and even better, everyone went home safe and sound.

Yes, there were a few spills, but no serious injuries.

"What an awesome week and the team have been phenomenal," said Man of the Meeting Award winner Hickman.

"The Smiths BMW and Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph have been faultless and although I go out to win every race, to have actually achieved it is something I never thought was possible.

"The conditions were tricky but the organisers made all the right calls. I tried to get to the front early in all the races and once I'd managed that I could pick all my own lines and hit all my markers.

"I also knew it would be difficult in Supersport to break away, but the Triumph has really good corner speed and handles perfectly, so to win those was brilliant.

"It was a superb week and to create history like we have is testament to everyone at Smiths Racing. "

He added: "People were saying I was making it look easy, but I can assure them it isn't. In my first three wins the conditions were different in each one."

Once racing did get under way on Saturday, Hickman blitzed the field in the Superstock six-lapper, winning by 24 seconds from Davey Todd and Conor Cummins as Dean Harrison retired at the end of lap one.

Michael Dunlop started his only race of the day from the second wave of riders and worked his way through to eighth by the chequered flag.

The closest anyone got to Hickman was Lee Johnston in the largely dry Supersport six-lap with a mere 0.145 seconds separating them.

The Ashcourt Yamaha rider went toe-to-toe with 'Hicky' for the full race distance with Lee leading for most of the race, although the pair were never more than tenths of a second apart.

It was only on the final lap that Hickman got ahead on the final run to the line after the pair were side by side through the fast sweeping corners towards the finish.

Lee said: "After finishing second in Thursday's Supersport I was desperate to beat him. I can't deny I was disappointed not to get the better of Peter. I gave it everything I had, but he was on fire all week.

"He's come here and remained undefeated in all his races, something that has never been done before, so I'm proud of the fact that we pushed him harder than anyone else. We had a good meeting overall; four podium finishes plus three fourth place finishes from eight races in varying conditions - I can't complain."

The anticipated battles between Dean Harrison and Hickman never really materialised. Bradford rider Harrison was three seconds behind despite setting the fastest lap in the first Superbike race and almost seven seconds down in the final Superbike race.

"Peter is in superb form and is coming off the back of a British Superbike podium, the most competitive championship in the world, and to be honest I'm happy with three podiums this week," said Harrison afterwards.

Harrison also finished second in Thursday's Superbike race.

There were superb performances from Davey Todd, Conor Cummins, Derek Sheils, Michael Sweeney, Jamie Coward and in the Supertwin race from winner Christian Elkin and runner-up Joseph Loughlin, with a mere seven one hundredths separating them at the chequered flag after five gripping laps.

The Lightweight and Ultra-Lightweight race was red-flagged on the second lap after Sarah Boyes crashed the Harp Farm 125GP Honda at Rock Bends, fortunately escaping serious injury.

However, it was Hickman's week, a display of riding unsurpassed at Dundrod in difficult conditions at times and that outright lap record of an astonishing 136.416mph, and an equally impressive 134.504mph in not 100% perfect conditions, in a finale to the meeting that will go down in the annals of Ulster Grand Prix history.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph