TT 2022: Hillier ‘frustrated’ not to break into 130mph bracket

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Impact Images

For the first time since 2011, James Hillier failed to register at least one podium during race week at the Isle of Man TT Races but it was another solid week for the Rich Energy OMG Yamaha rider as he claimed four top seven finishes from his four race starts.

Fifth in the opening Supersport race proved to be his highest finish of the week with sixth place and a fastest lap of 129.936mph, his best of the week, in Saturday’s Senior rounding off his campaign for another year.

The result came despite overshooting his pit box at the first pit stop and although he admitted it had been a challenging fortnight and it was disappointing not have been back in the top three, or break the 130mph barrier, he was glad to end race week on a high.

“It wasn’t a win or a podium today but with a top six we were in the mix – ish – and it was nice to end with a smile on my face,” he said. “There’s definitely more to come but I definitely felt more myself on the bike today and enjoyed the race more than any other this week.

“I messed up the first pit stop as it threw me a bit when I came into the pits with Davey (Todd) beside me. I’ve never done it before and won’t do it again but I don’t think it affected the overall result too much. A six lap race is long but today’s race reminded me why I do the TT and I felt like I could have kept going and that’s what happens when you’re enjoying yourself, you don’t want it to end.”

With team-mate David Johnson absent through injury, Hillier had to carry the work load for the entire team in their first year on the island and his first year with Yamaha machinery. The frustrations for the 14-time podium finisher were evident but he’s confident it will stand everyone in good stead going forward.

“It’s been a frustrating TT for me at times and I can’t believe I haven’t done a single 130mph lap but I’ve not quite found myself or the settings. It’s very hard to find a setup if you’re not riding well or trying too hard. It was the team’s first TT and we’ve not broke down, we’ve finished every race we’ve started which we can be pleased with while we’ve gathered a lot of data to take forward.

“If Davo had been here it would have been harder from an infrastructure point of view but we’d have got the information more quickly with two bikes out on track.”