HICKEN ON DUNLOP
Bennetts Suzuki boss Stuart Hicken described the shortened Senior TT as “the most stressful four laps of my life.”
“I know we’ve done it but to do it with a bike that has only done three races is incredible. It’s hard work bringing a new bike here and we could not have done it without Michael Dunlop. No other rider could do that.”
Hicken joined forces with Michael Dunlop when the Ballymoney racer split with Honda at the end of 2013. Together they gave BMW the company’s first TT success in 75 years. After Hicken’s team lost its official BMW team status in 2015, Dunlop had a brief but disastrous flirtation with Milwaukee Yamaha before rejoining the squad mid-tt. Last season Dunlop did the Superbike/ Senior double for a second time on Hicken’s BMWS before the squad shifted to Suzuki this season.
Hicken admitted he had doubted the wisdom of the change during TT 2017. “I did start doubting whether we’d do it,” he said after watching Dunlop spray the Senior victory champagne.
“Everybody had to dig deep. We had to cut the fuel back a lot to finish the race. I was always concerned about what would happen if we were going to go into the unknown of 134mph laps. We didn’t want to count our chickens.”
The Suzuki’s engine failure in the Superbike race gave Hicken even more cause for concern. “The first Superbike race looked like it would be easy as nobody, other than Micahel, had any pace,” he said.
“We tell Michael the truth and he tells us the truth. We give 100%, he gives 100%. We can’t give any more. After this we’re all knackered and no doubt he is as well. As long as you’re doing that you can’t do any more.”
‘There is no way that we could have won with any other rider’
Pitstops were smooth by the Hawk Racing team
Team look on as Dunlop celebrates by toasting a tyre