If you ask the racers at the Isle of Man TT which of the nine races they would most like to win, the Senior TT is always the answer. They call it the “blue ribbon” event, and that is because it features the fastest bikes on the grid, racing over a grueling six laps – it also has the largest trophy.
With the TT fortnight acting like a crescendo to Friday’s race, the Senior TT is final cacophony of noise at the Isle of Man, and today’s race was the epitome of that notion.
Once again, the weather smiled upon this tiny island in the Irish Sea, as it has all fortnight. This not only meant a day for perfect racing, but it also meant that racers had two weeks of honing their craft and their machines for the Senior TT race.
Lap times were going to drop; records were going to be broken, and benchmarks were going to be set, which is exactly what you should expect from the Senior TT.
All this being said, I still had my reservations this morning about publishing a story where Dean Harrison said that a 135 mph lap time was a necessity if he wanted to win the Senior TT. Just a few years ago, 135 mph seemed unthinkable. Two weeks ago even, a 135 mph lap seemed too far away.
My apprehension seems to have been unnecessary though, but even that wasn’t immediately clear at the start of The Senior.
This is because the first five laps of the Senior TT were absolute snoozers.
Dean Harrison lead through Glen Helen on the first lap, and was never really challenged until the final sectors of the race. Followed by Peter Hickman, the duo would see their gap widen to a maximum duration of 8.3 second on Lap 3, before it started to shrink again.
Initially back in third place was Michael Dunlop, who clearly wasn’t on his pace. Dunlop would slowly go backwards, before being swallowed up by Conor Cummins on Lap 2.
That order would remain through the start of Lap 6, with the 2018 Senior TT seemingly going out with a whimper, instead of a bang. But, that would start to change very rapidly.
Finding time virtually in every sector, Peter Hickman was closing down on Dean Harrison, especially with his absolutely blistering pace over the mountain section over the course. Unsurprisingly then, Hickman took the lead of the Senior TT at the Bungalow, and pushed all the way to the finish line.
Ahead on the course, Harrison was first to cross the line, setting a 134.918 mph lap – just short of the 135 mph mark he had told us just hours ahead.
But true to his words, it would take breaking the 135 mph barrier to win the Senior TT, as Peter Hickman then crossed the line with a 135.452 mph lap.
A Senior TT lap record, an outright TT lap record, and a Senior TT race time record, Peter Hickman in a single lap became the fastest road racer ever in the world, with the Isle of Man now supplanting the Ulster GP as the fastest road racing event.
All the sector records would be rewritten as well, split between Hickman and Harrison, with the BMW rider fastest on the mountain sections, while the Kawasaki going better through the towns.
Rounding out the podium was Manxman Conor Cummins, while Michael Dunlop finished in what he will call a disappointing fourth place.
The Isle of Man TT is now done, and the riders will take a much needed rest. But, already there is talk of a 136 mph lap, after Peter Hickman revealed that he lost a considerable amount of time getting through lapped riders during his record lap. Simply…unbelievable.
Photo: © 2018 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved
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