Hickman doubles up to make it a dozen.


The afternoon’s Supertwin Race broke the pattern of having the same podium trio in Race 2 as in Race 1. The mythical “luck of the Irish” took a break as the fancied men from the Emerald Isle hit problems. The afternoon was warmer than the morning; it was t-shirt order for the crowd in the Parliament square. The crowd was small by TT standards; especially for a local bank holiday.

It seemed that normal service would be the order of the day as Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Paton) led at Glen Helen by 1.02s from Mike Browne (Burrows Paton), with Peter Hickman (PHR Yamaha) in third. Hickman’s Yamaha had a new engine purchased from Michael Rutter and worked on all of the previous day by his team. Jamie Coward (Steadplan Kawasaki) was 4th, Stefano Bonetti (ILR Paton) 5th and Josh Brookes (Dafabet Kawasaki) was in 6th. Michael Rutter was seventh, but he clipped a kerb in Kirk Michael whilst checking the rev counter and broke his steering damper; he pulled out in the pits. Paul Jordan never reached Glen Helen; he was forced to retire at Harold’s. Coward soon joined the list of retirees; he was out at the far end of Kirk Michael.

At Ballaugh, Dunlop was on lap record pace; he led by 3.35s from Mike Browne; with Hickman 5.82s down in third; this on a bike that he was hoping would give him a top 10 finish.  Dominic Herbertson was first into Ramsey on the CC Engineering Kawasaki, Rutter was next; then the flying Dunlop. Still on lap record pace, Dunlop led by 5.28s from Browne; who was on a personal best lap. Hickman was 9.2s back in third; Brookes, Bonetti and Pierre-Yves Bian completed the top 6.

Browne set a sector record on the mountain; but took only 0.1s from Dunlop. Then the drama began in earnest; Dunlop had to grab the clutch on the climb to Brandywell; his race was over; he would not draw level with Joey on 26 wins. With a lap at 121.069mph, Mike Browne led by 11.65s as the riders came in for the mandatory pit stop. Brookes was third going into pit lane; a long stop due to him accidentally switching of the electronics cost over 30s and dropped him off the leader board. Bian was the rider on the move; he was 4th entering pit lane.

At Glen Helen; Browne’s lead was 12.2s over Hickman. Bian was third; but only 1.7s ahead of Herbertson. At Ballaugh, the lead was 13.8s as they jumped the bridge. Herbertson had cut his deficit to Bian down to 0.03s. Herbertson was the leader on the road in Ramsey; however, there was trail of bluish smoke coming out of the machine; the harbinger of his eventual demise. He had taken 3rd from Bian by 0.43s. At the head of the field, Browne had an advantage of 16.6s over Hickman. Bonetti and Hodson filled out the top 6; but Brookes was on a mission and closing rapidly.

Browne’s lead was 17s at Cronk ny Mona; then misfortune hit him; the clutch gave up the ghost coming out Governor’s Dip and he was forced to retire at the Grandstand; where he was given a big round of applause. This left Hickman with the lead; Herbertson second and Bian in third.

At Glen Helen for the final time, Hickman led by 40s from Herbertson. Herbertson’s bike expired at Barregarrow. As they swept through Ramsey for the final time Hickman had a comfortable lead of 49s over Bian; with Josh Brookes 5.15s behind and closing. There were no dramas on the mountain section; Hickman duly took his 12th TT victory; one that was unexpected; at a race average of 119.319mph. Bian managed to keep Brookes at bay; he finished 47.784s behind Hickman at an average of 117.671mph. Brookes was the fastest man on track on the final lap; his lap average 120.939mph. His race average of 117.603mph left him just 2s behind Bian. Stefano Bonetti; Rob Hodson (SMT Kawasaki) and Baz Furber (DC Auto Yamaha) completed the leader board.

Hickman was delighted with his victory; giving fulsome praise to his team. With more development the Yamaha may be able to match the Patons for top end. Bian was ecstatic to take a podium finish; he is fine rider; more will surely follow. Brookes was left to rue the little mistake that cost him second; he learned a lot in his first races on a Supertwin; he will be pushing for a win; if he returns next year.