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Peter Hickman claims man of the meeting crown with hat trick of wins at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix


Peter Hickman once again highlighted why he is one of road racing’s brightest stars as he took three race wins on his way to the man of the meeting crown at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.

The 30-year old took a dominant victory in the opening Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock race, leading Dean Harrison home by 4.5 seconds, with Dan Kneen putting in a strong performance on the Tyco BMW. The Manx rider crossed the line just 0.044 ahead of Silicone Engineering’s Harrison in what would be the first of several close battles between the pair throughout the day.

In the second race, the Centra Whitemountain Supersport outing, Hickman again took the win, but he was made to work for it as Bruce Anstey pushed him all the way on the Padgett’s Honda. The two traded places throughout the race while Lee Johnston took an emotional third place as he made his comeback following his crash at the TT.

The popular Fermanagh rider received a roar from the crowd as he took the podium, while further back it was Harrison in fourth, followed by William Dunlop and brother Michael in fifth and sixth.

Race three saw the Lightweight and Ultralightweight machines take to the track, sponsored by Plant Lubrication (NI) and both classes put on a great show for the thousands of fans around the Dundrod circuit. Bruce Anstey was expected to take a dominant win in the Lightweights on his RS250, but he was forced to retire after just one lap with a mechanical failure.

New race leader Neil Kernohan then suffered a similar issue as his Logan Racing 250 broke down just a lap later, leaving two of the paddock’s veterans, Davy Morgan and Paul Owen, to contest the race.

In the end it was Morgan who held on for a popular victory, but both riders received a fantastic reception as they entered park ferme. Callum Laidlaw was the first 400 home and he completed the podium.

Records tumbled in the Lightweight class meanwhile, as Christian Elkin and Paul Robinson traded fastest laps throughout the race. Robinson took the win ahead of Elkin and newcomer Joey Thompson, but Elkin ended the day with the new outright lap record for the Moto3 class as 111.343mph.

Race four saw the big bikes out on track for the feature MMB Surfacing Superbike race, and it turned into an instant classic. Hickman took an early lead on the Smiths Racing BMW with Conor Cummins close behind, but Bruce Anstey was soon on the charge, setting a new lap record on his second lap.

It didn’t last long though, as Harrison overhauled him with a 134.614mph lap to on his way from fifth to third, claiming the outright lap record for himself with a time that wouldn’t be beaten throughout the day. Hickman and Anstey meanwhile continued to swap places but the Kiwi racer finally took control with a decisive move with half a lap to go.

The 48-year old now has 13 wins to his name at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix, and was able to make up for his earlier disappointment on the 250. The last man that age to claim a victory on a Superbike at Dundrod was none other than Joey Dunlop in 1999, so Anstey is once again in illustrious company.

The Barron Transport Services Supersport race saw an identical podium to the day’s first 600 race, with Hickman again leading home Anstey and Johnston to claim a hat-trick of wins. Initially red flagged following an incident at the Lindsay Hairpin, the restarted session, Hickman was pushed by Michael Dunlop in the early laps, before Anstey reeled the pair in and Johnston joined in the battle.

Leading on the last lap, Johnston looked like he might be able to pull off a sensational win, but Hickman and Anstey got the better of him with just a few miles to go.

In the Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins, a sensational last lap saw Ivan Lintin and Daniel Cooper trade blows and records, with both riders lapping at over 120mph for the first time in the class. Lintin came away with both the victory and the new lap record of at 120.402mph, but Cooper was just 0.024 behind in once of the closest finishes in Dundrod history. Adam McLean rounded out the top three.

Under sunny skies, the stage was then set for a blazing finale in race seven, the Around A Pound Superbike Race. There were predictions of Hickman wins and new lap records, but it wasn’t to be. The engine on Hickman’s Smiths Racing BMW let go on the first lap, while Anstey pulled into the pits shortly afterwards, leaving Dean Harrison, Dan Kneen, Conor Cummins and Michael Dunlop to battle it out.

Spectacular throughout, the final lap saw Harrison and Kneen go toe to toe, with Harrison coming from a long way behind at the Hairpin to squeeze inside Kneen. The Bradford racer appeared to touch Kneen’s Tyco BMW as they ran wide, almost allowing Cummins through, but in the end they both recovered and Harrison held off a final challenge from Kneen to take his first win at Dundrod.

The race rounded off a fantastic day of racing, and despite his disappointment in the final Superbike outing Hickman had still done enough to claim the man of the meeting crown. Joey Thompson meanwhile, was named the Best Newcomer and received the Vincent Fusco memorial trophy, with the 19 year old marking his Dundrod debut with some strong performances and a debut podium.

The day also marked the final road race for Dr Fred MacSorley, who retired after 30 years of service, providing invaluable emergency medical care to the road racing paddock. A celebratory parade lap was held at the start of the day, but the real fun came after racing had drawn to a close, when Dr Fred and his son Allister performed simultaneous burnouts in front of the crowd.

A fitting send off for a legend of the sport, who said goodbye to the paddock after one of the best days’ of racing Dundrod has seen in recent years.

The results:

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock

  1. Peter Hickman
  2. Dean Harrison
  3. Dan Kneen
  4. David Johnson
  5. Conor Cummins

Centra Whitemountain Supersport

  1. Peter Hickman
  2. Bruce Anstey
  3. Lee Johnston
  4. Dean Harrison
  5. William Dunlop

Plant Lubrication (NI) Ultra Lightweight

  1. Paul Robinson
  2. Christian Elkin
  3. Joey Thompson
  4. Adam McLean
  5. Gary Dunlop

Plant Lubrication (NI) Lightweight

  1. Davy Morgan
  2. Paul Owen
  3. Callum Laidlaw
  4. David Howard
  5. Paul Gartland

MMB Surfacing Superbike

  1. Bruce Anstey
  2. Peter Hickman
  3. Dean Harrison
  4. Dan Kneen
  5. Conor Cummins

Barron Transport Services Supersport

  1. Peter Hickman
  2. Bruce Anstey
  3. Lee Johnston
  4. Michael Dunlop
  5. Paul Jordan

Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins

  1. Ivan Lintin
  2. Daniel Cooper
  3. Adam McClean
  4. Derek Sheils
  5. Christian Elkin

Around a Pound Superbike

  1. Dean Harrison
  2. Dan Kneen
  3. Conor Cummins
  4. Michael Dunlop
  5. Derek Sheils

Peter Hickman claims hat-trick of pole positions for the MCE Ulster Grand Prix

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