Hickman has won the last three big-bike races at the TT after adding Monday’s RST Superbike victory to last year’s triumphs in the superstock and Senior events, but after coming home in third in the opening supersport race this week, he made no secret of his desire to win on the smaller machines.
With racing resuming at the TT after two days of postponements due to rain, it was Hickman who was fastest out of the blocks to win the first of five races scheduled for Thursday, that if all go ahead will make this the busiest day in TT history.
The British Superbikes star beat Harrison by little over three seconds, with Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki’s James Hillier taking the final place on the rostrum.
“We were trying so hard on the 600 to actually win a race at the TT,” Hickman said afterwards. “Monday was the closest we’ve ever been and we’ve had some input from Triumph which has been the difference. I had to pull my finger out in the first half as we know I’m always slow but I think the lap this morning helped as it got me going.
Hickman has long acknowledged his slow starts to the TT but with just two laps to assert his dominance, the Trooper Triumph rider knew he could not afford to hang around. So when the No 10 reached Glen Helen on the opening lap top of the timesheets, you knew Hickman meant business.
He had plenty for company though, with the top eight split by little over three seconds, and although Hickman and Harrison are starting to forge a famous TT rivalry, neither was able to take the upper hand. The lead swapped no fewer than eight times over the two laps, with Hickman finally retaking it at Ballaugh Bridge on the second circuit, and when he arrived at the Ramsey Hairpin to start the climb up the Mountain with a 0.3s advantage, the inevitable looked on the wall for Harrison.
Hickman has made the Mountain his own over the last two years and the Triumph pulled away despite Harrison’s best efforts, with Monday’s superbike winner crossing the line to pick up his fourth TT victory by a gap of just 3.302 seconds, with Hillier following home in third for his second podium of the week.
“I got off to slow start but the conditions are getting better and better,” said an optimistic Harrison. “I got my first board and it was P4 and I thought ‘right pull your finger out’ and then I got P3 and P2.
“I messed up coming out of Governor’s on the last lap and the rear came round and had to go over the kerb, but I feel good now, I feel good ahead of this afternoon.”
Having finished second to Lee Johnston in the opening supersport race, Hillier was at a loss to pinpoint what more he could give.
“I don’t know what we’re doing wrong,” said Hillier. “That was maximum effort and I didn’t have anything left there. I made a few mistakes early on but I knew it was going to be tough with a two-lap race.
Johnston was unable to double-up in the supersport class as he could only manage ninth place on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha. Conor Cummins gave a good show once again to take fourth, but after practising on his superbike in the morning the Manx native is clearly focussing on the big bikes as his best chance of success this week.
Jamie Coward secured his best result to date at the TT with fifth place for Prez Racing Yamaha, finishing ahead of Michael Dunlop, Davey Todd and Gary Johnson, with Johnston and David Johnson rounding out the top 10.
Supersport race two results
1. Peter Hickman
2. Dean Harrison +3.302s
3. James Hillier +4.554s
4. Conor Cummins +8.595s
5. Jamie Coward +20.998s
6. Michael Dunlop +42.628s
7. Davey Todd +43.123s
8. Gary Johnson +44.412s
9. Lee Johnston +47.016s
10. David Johnson +1:07.350
Source: The Independent