TT 2022: Hickman raises the bar to 133mph

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Impact Images

Gas Monkey Garage BMW’s Peter Hickman moved the bar again during Thursday night practice, putting in a 132.220mph lap from a standing start but his second lap was cut short due to a lack of fuel in the M1000RR.

Hickman was almost seven seconds ahead of Dean Harrison’s DAO Kawasaki as the reigning Senior champion set a 132.333 for second place with Davey Todd again third on a 132.187.

The Louth rider also topped the leaderboard for the Superstock and Supertwin classes, at 129.910mph and 120.994mph respectively on his BMW and VAS Engine Racing Paton, but it was close in the latter with Michael Dunlop just 0.2s slower on his Paton. The Ulsterman had the consolation of being quickest in the Supersport category after lapping at 126.662mph on his MD Racing Yamaha.


Conditions all around the course were described as good and with cloud cover rather than bright sunshine, the visibility was excellent as the solo session kicked off at 7.25pm. James Hillier (RICH Energy OMG Racing) was first away with Hickman, Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki), Michael Rutter (Bathams Ales) and Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee BMW Motorrad) quickly following.

As per previous nights, Hickman, Harrison and Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles) were the riders setting the pace but it was again Hickman who was impressing the most and he crossed the line first after lapping at a superb 133.22mph. That was 6.83s quicker than Harrison’s 132.333mph with Todd just 1.1s further back after posting his best lap of the Mountain Course to date, 132.187mph.

Michael Dunlop slotted into fourth on the Hawk Racing Suzuki at 131.44mph, his best lap of the week so far, with Conor Cummins on the second Padgett’s machine, the fifth and final rider to lap in excess of 130mph at 130.489mph. Hillier placed sixth at 128.431mph but Dunlop had an early stop at Ballacraine on his second lap before rejoining.

Back at the head of the field and Hickman was really pressing on but just when it looked like he’d post a quicker lap, he ran out of fuel and pushed in from Governor’s Bridge. None of the top four riders went any quicker but both Cummins (130.867mph) and John McGuinness MBE (129.278mph) did improve, with the latter knocking Hillier out of the top six.

Meanwhile, impressive laps came in lower down the order from Mike Browne (125.076mph), Matt Stevenson (124.073mph), Brandon Cretu (123.159mph), David Datzer (122.335mph) and newcomer Milo Ward who posted his first lap over 120mph with a speed of 121.18mph.

Hickman got back out on track on his Superstock BMW and topped the class with a lap of 129.91mph which put him ahead of Todd (128.933mph), Cummins (128.733mph) and Dunlop (127.642mph) whilst Glenn Irwin, after experiencing trouble with his Superbike, was eighth quickest on his Honda at 126.689mph, yet another personal best for the newcomer.

In the Supersport class, Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing) set the initial pace with a lap of 125.202mph and he was able to hold on right up until the closing moment when Dunlop set the fastest 600cc lap of the week at 126.662mph. Johnston slipped back to fourth after Harrison (125.563mph) and Jamie Coward (125.213mph) both overhauled him in the final minutes, whilst Todd (124.014mph) and Hillier (123.784mph) completed the top six.

Newcomers Joe Loughlin (120.419mph) and Rennie Scaysbrook (117.079mph) and Frenchman Pierre Yves-Bian (119.968mph) were also going well in the 600cc division.

The Supertwins were the last class to get out on the course and it was Lee Johnston who again set the early pace after a lap of 117.178mph on his Aprilia before Hickman took over the top spot with a lap of 119.719mph. Johnston improved second time around to 118.454mph as did fourth placed James Hind (118.38mph) but Hickman and Dunlop were more than 20 seconds quicker than anyone else with their respective laps of 120.994mph and 120.965mph, the first laps over 120mph of the week in this class.

Paul Jordan (117.873mph) and Gary Johnson (117.843mph) rounded the top six ahead of Rob Hodson (117.594mph) and Pierre-Yves Bian who put in a strong lap of 117.314mph. Loughlin had another strong session too with a lap of 116.317mph on his Paton.

Due to a change in schedule, the Sidecars had got the evening underway at 6.30pm and it was the Birchalls who were again first away followed by John Holden/Dan Sayle, Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau, Dave Molyneux/Daryl Gibson and the Manx Crowe brothers.

Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde made an early stop just after Union Mills before proceeding but all the sector times had the Birchalls as comfortably the quickest and that proved to be the case as they completed the opening lap at 117.516mph. The quickest lap of the week so far, that was some 19.5s quicker than the Crowes whose lap of 115.564mph was another personal best.

Newcomer driver Harry Payne, with Mark Wilkes, went third quickest (112.398mph) with Lee Blackstock/Patrick Rosney (112.354mph) and Reeves/Rousseau (112.34mph). 17-time winner Molyneux was sixth (110.827mph) just ahead of Paul Leglise/Melanie Farnier (110.236mph) but both Holden/Sayle and Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie had stopped out on track.

The Birchalls pulled in to make some set up changes but the Crowes went straight through for a second lap only to retire at Sulby Crossroads. That meant it was Reeves/Rousseau who were first to complete their second lap, at 113.708mph which was six seconds up on Blackstock/Rosney who improved to 113.137mph.

Payne/Wilkes upped their pace to 112.798mph whilst Steve and Matty Ramsden moved into sixth on the leaderboard with a best ever lap of the TT Course of 111.903mph, and although the Birchalls posted another 117mph+ lap, their first lap remained the quicker of the two.