2017 Ulster GP: Hickman bags Supersport win

Picture: Derek Wilson

Peter Hickman made it two wins from two when he won a thrilling opening Supersport race but he didn’t have it easy on the Trooper Beer/Smiths Triumph as he only got the better of Bruce Anstey (Padgetts Honda) by 0.188s. Lee Johnston gave the Batley concern further cause to celebrate in third.

“It was a real good race and nice and close with the boys,” Hickman said afterwards. “The bike’s not quite the fastest but it was quick enough to keep up with Bruce and the Triumph has a bit more grunt which is good for me being tall. I figured Bruce was close so wanted to lead going into the last lap and have enough of a gap so that he couldn’t get by and I had just enough to keep him behind.”

Hickman was first off the line once more to lead down the Flying Kilo but Anstey hit the front at Deer’s Leap with Dean Harrison in third and William Dunlop fourth. However, by the end of the opening lap, it was Hickman leading by 0.227s from Anstey followed by Dunlop and Harrison.

Lap two saw Anstey re-take the lead with his advantage over Hickman at the end of the lap just 0.084s and it was now Harrison in third ahead of William and Michael Dunlop. Lee Johnston was in sixth as just 1.9s covered the top six.

Anstey again led over the line at the end of lap three, the gap now 0.176s, but Harrison was only a further half second in arrears as Johnston now moved up to fourth on the second Padgetts Honda. The Dunlop brothers were still together in fifth and sixth with Conor Cummins on yet another Padgetts Honda holding onto a lonely seventh.

With four of the six laps gone, Anstey continued to lead and he extended the gap to 0.423s as he headed out onto the penultimate lap, Hickman still in second and half a second clear of Harrison who was coming under more and more pressure from Johnston.

However, Hickman hit the front once more only for Anstey to respond further round the lap. Hickman was determined though and, later on the brakes, grabbed the lead at Tournagrough.

It was all to play for going into the final lap as there was still only 1.7s between the top six and Anstey and Hickman swapped the lead twice along the Flying Kilo. Hickman led for the majority of the lap, preventing Anstey from making an overtaking manoeuvre and he took win number two by 0.186s.

Johnston got the better of Harrison on the last lap to take the final podium spot as William and Michael Dunlop crossed the line close behind. Cummins took seventh with Derek McGee coming through for eighth ahead of Jamie Coward and Adam McLean.

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