Hickman supreme at Dundrod

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Hickman supreme at Dundrod thumbnail Man of the Meeting Peter Hickman exits Leathemstown during the Superbike race.

AS well as being a regular top 10 finisher at BSB, Peter Hickman showed that he is no slouch on real road circuits either, when he came away with three race wins and the Man of the Meeting accolade at last weekend's Ulster Grand Prix.

The meeting started off badly early in the week when Stephen Lynd and Gavin Lupton sustained critical injuries in crashes.

Sadly Jamie Hodgson, from Wigan lost his life in an accident at the Joeys Windmill section.

The 35-year-old was an experienced competitor, winning last year's Manx GP Supertwins race and having a top 10 finish in the TT Lightweight this year. Jamie's brother Rob was also caught up in the same accident, although his injuries are not serious.

After a heavy shower early in the morning, clerk of the course Noel Johnston delayed getting racing underway to allow the roads time to dry.

Peter Hickman seemed to have little opposition on the Superstock race, winning by 4.5 seconds. Dean Harrison and Manxman Dan Kneen rounded off the podium.

If that race wasn't close, the Supersport 600 race certainly was. Hickman was forced on by Kiwi, Bruce Anstey, while Lee Johnston grabbed third place, his first podium since he was badly injured at the TT.

It looked like Bruce Anstey was going to take an easy win on the 250 Honda in the Lightweight race. Unfortunately his bike broke down on the opening lap, leaving Galgorm man Neil Kernohan in the lead. Sadly, Neil's bike broke as well, leaving Davy Morgan to take the race win from Paul Owen.

Christian Elkin and Paul Robinson had a great race in the Moto3 class. Both broke the lap record, but at the line it was Robinson who took the win. Elki has the consolation of being the fastest Moto3 rider at Dundrod, with an amazing speed of 111.343mph.

Peter Hickman held an early lead in the Superbike class, trailed by Conor Cummins and Bruce Anstey.

Anstey posted a new lap record, that only lasted a few minutes. On his way to third place after a slow start, Dean Harrison lapped at 134.614mph. Anstey grabbed the lead on the last lap, and held on to take the win.

The Supersport 600 race was red-flagged following an incident at the hairpin, when Adam McLean and Derek McGee came down.

Thankfully neither was injured.

This gave us the same top three as the first 600 race.

From the restart Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman were together, but they were soon joined by Bruce Anstey and Lee Johnston. Micky D slipped back leaving Hickman to take the win ahead of Anstey and Johnston.

Ivan Lintin and Dan Cooper traded paint throughout the Supertwins race. Both dipped inside the old lap record, as they pulled away from the rest of the field.

It was clear it was going to be a close finish as they went out on their final lap, the race win and new lap record going to Lintin 120.402mph.

Cooper was only .02 adrift at the line. Having slipped off his 600, Adam McLean was back on the pace, taking third.

As the final race of the day came to the line we were asking ourselves could the 135mph barrier finally go at Dundrod. Right from the start it was apparent that Hickman's bike was not 100 per cent. The engine let go, leaving us to look to Bruce Anstey.

Sadly he came into the pits to retire. That left Dan Kneen, Dean Harrison and Conor Cummins to dice for the podium places. On the last lap Harrison dived under Kneen at the hairpin. Both run wide, almost allowing Cummins to get ahead. Harrison hung on to win, with Kneen second.

After the tragedy of the early part of the week, the Ulster needed a day's racing like we had. Great weather, close hard racing and in the main, good weather.

While I offer my condolences to the Hodgson family, I must also commend Noel Johnston and the members of the Dundrod club for putting on another fantastic day's sport in the final international meeting of the year.


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