TT win­ner in wait­ing

Hick­man shows po­ten­tial with 100% podium record

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Oli Rushby BSB RE­PORTER

‘I felt com­fort­able be­fore the red flag in the Se­nior – so I think I could have won that one’

Ev­ery­one was ex­pect­ing TT 2017 to be the Hutchin­son v Dun­lop show af­ter the in­tense ri­valry that brewed be­tween the two quick­est men ever to lap the moun­tain course last year. But if any­where is go­ing to con­found ex­pec­ta­tions, it’s the Isle of Man. In all of the races that ran last week, there was no Hutchy v Dun­lop show­down. Hutchy took two races, as did Michael but in each race they won, the other wasn’t even in con­tention. While there are many rea­sons for this, in­clud­ing weather and ma­chine prob­lems, the other sim­ple fact is that there were a cou­ple of rid­ers who upped the ante to take the fight to the dom­i­nant duo.

And none more no­table than Smiths BMW’S Peter Hick­man, who didn’t just fin­ish on the podium in ev­ery race he en­tered, but fought for the vic­tory in both the Su­per­bike and Se­nior TT races.

Hick­man’s TT prow­ess was ob­vi­ous from the mo­ment he first turned a wheel on the moun­tain course. Mak­ing his de­but in 2014, he be­came the TT’S fastest-ever new­comer as he was lap­ping at close to 130mph by the end of his rookie week. Since then he has steadily im­proved and was a se­ri­ous podium con­tender in 2016 but was de­nied the chance to stand on the box af­ter a string of tech­ni­cal is­sues.

“I’ve said all along that I felt I should have been on the podium last year, so I had to do it this year didn’t I?” Hick­man told MCN af­ter tak­ing his first podium in the Su­per­bike race.

But Hick­man went on to do so much more than se­cure his first podium – and peo­ple took note. “Hick­man has only been do­ing this four years, Dun­lop and Hutchy want to be wor­ried about when he starts win­ning,” said a mem­ber the TT’S man­age­ment team af­ter the Se­nior.

In 2016, the then 29-year-old was vis­i­bly frus­trated to have missed out on his de­but podium. This year, had Hutchy not crashed and the Se­nior been restarted, he could well have taken his de­but win. But he didn’t let his frus­tra­tion show.

“I felt com­fort­able on the open­ing lap be­fore the red flag so if Hutchy hadn’t crashed I think I could’ve won that one,” he says mat­ter of factly.

“I had an is­sue with the clutch but was still fight­ing for the lead. I gave it ev­ery­thing when we went back out. Ev­ery­thing I could, but I wasn’t fast enough for Michael.

“I don’t take it to heart, he’s won 15 races around here now – com­pared to guys like that I’m mas­sively in­ex­pe­ri­enced. They’ve all been com­ing for 10 years longer than I have and I’m not far away in terms of pace! Ev­ery year I’m get­ting faster and more com­fort­able so I’m more than happy with five podi­ums and the Joey Dun­lop Championship tro­phy [awarded to the rider with the best re­sults across the week].”

Hick­man’s laid back per­sona is un­usual for a mo­tor­cy­cle racer. If you speak to Hutchin­son or Dun­lop it’s all about win­ning – noth­ing else is good enough, but Hick­man is just fo­cused on hav­ing a good time and not push­ing the lim­its. He’s much more of the John Mcguin­ness ap­proach to the Isle of Man TT than Michael Dun­lop’s, and that school of thought didn’t turn out too bad for Mcguin­ness, did it?

“I try not to think about win­ning as that’s when you start mak­ing mis­takes and push be­yond where you should be,” Hick­man says. “I try to be level headed and let it come to me re­ally. To be hon­est, when I saw boards telling me I was P1 on the first start of the Se­nior, that’s when I first started to think about tak­ing the win, but even on the restart I was re­al­is­tic enough to know Michael would be the man if he’d sorted his prob­lems out.”

Of course, now he’s fin­ished sec­ond three times and fought for vic­tory on two of those oc­ca­sions, even the chilled out Hick­man can’t deny he’s go­ing to be look­ing to win in 2018.

“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t want to win, so to be on the podium, the next aim is to go one bet­ter. That’s the next thing we need to achieve and of course I’ll be try­ing 100%.”

Hick­man wheel­ies through St Nini­ans dur­ing the Se­nior TT

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