TT 2018: Hickman leads Thursday's qualifying

Friday 1st June 2018 8:02 am
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Peter Hickman topped Thursday's TT qualifying session with a lap of 132.81mph (Photo: Dave Kneale) ()

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Peter Hickman posted the fastest time in Thursday evening’s TT qualifying session, lapping at 132.81mph in the Superbike class as he set an unofficial personal best.

Ben and Tom Birchall posted the fastest lap of the week so far in the Formula Two Sidecar class, with last year’s double winners lapping at an impressive 116.554mph.

The overnight rain and morning mist had long gone by the time the session got underway at 6.20pm and clear skies and sunshine were again the order of the day, although damp patches remained on the exit of Ramsey Hairpin, the Nook and Governor’s Bridge.

First to leave the line on this occasion were Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW) and Smiths Racing BMW’s Hickman, quickly followed by Lee Johnston (Honda Racing) and Derek Sheils (Penz13.com BMW), Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) and Gary Johnson (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki).

James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and David Johnson (Gulf BMW) were also away early with man of the week Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) and Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) slightly further back.

Hickman was first to complete a lap at 131.113mph as he opened up a large gap on the road over Rutter who lapped at 127.475mph. Harrison and Dunlop were both over 130mph though, lapping at 130.612mph and 130.606mph respectively, while Josh Brookes also had a good opening lap on the Norton at 129.174mph.

Hickman and Rutter both elected to go straight through with Harrison and Dunlop pulling in to change machines. Hickman was taking full advantage of the clear road in front of him with his second lap - an excellent 132.81mph - an unofficial personal best and the second fastest lap of the week to date.

Rutter was a retirement at Cruickshanks, although he did manage to get back to register another qualifying lap.

Harrison was also over 130mph second time around, this time on his Superstock mount, while Conor Cummins again impressed on his Padgetts Honda Superbike at 131.18mph.

David Johnson (129.63) and Hillier (128.06) also had strong second laps as did newcomer Davey Todd who set his best lap of the week at 123.995mph.

Fellow newcomer David Jackson was also above 120mph for the first time, but Adam Lyon retired at Cronk-y-Voddy.

As the session wore on, speeds were reduced because of an incident involving Chris Petty at St Ninian’s which left debris in the road. Petty was taken by ambulance to Noble’s Hospital where he was reported to have sustained a fractured ankle.

Despite this, Hickman went to the top of the Superstock times briefly with a lap of 128.38mph, but this was ultimately bettered by David Johnson who posted a lap of 129.20mph.

Late laps on the Superbike came from Cummins (130.59) and Dunlop (130.959) and, although not many of the top group went out on their Supersport machines, Ivan Lintin put in the quickest lap of the night at 123.22mph which put him ahead of Lee Johnston (123.02) and Adam McLean (121.894).

It was then the turn of the Sidecars and the Birchalls led the field away from Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes, Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley and Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle.

The Birchalls were the quickest on the opening lap with a speed of 115.48mph while Reeves/Wilkes finally completed their first lap of this year’s meeting 114.06.

Founds and Molyneux both lapped in excess of 111mph and Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney lapped the Mountain Course quicker than ever before with 110.69mph.

Second time around the Birchalls upped their pace to 116.554mph, the fastest lap of the week so far, with Reeves/Wilkes increasing their speed to 114.369mph.

Moly and Sayle also upped their game at 113.155mph, while John Holden/Lee Cain had a steady first lap but made changes for their second lap which was 114.513mph.

The French female pairing of Estelle Leblond/Melanie Farnier recorded a strong lap at 107.886mph, with last year’s best newcomers Gary and Daryl Gibson also going well with their first 107mph-plus lap.

Leading debutants Michael Jackson/Harry Payne improved to 104.83mph before retiring on their second lap.

A number of the electric TT Zero machines also had their first outings. As expected Mugen were to the fore with Michael Rutter posting an impressive opening lap of 116.049 while his team-mate Lee Johnston was also over the ton at 101.108.

But the Japanese outfit were bisected by an impressive performance by Daley Mathison on the University of Nottingham UON 02.

James Cowton (84.365mph) riding the Brunel BX 15 and Adam Child (74.869) on the Moto Corsa Ego also completed their first qualifying laps, but Shaun Anderson broke down on the Mountain Box while Team Mirai’s Ian Lougher got as far as Hillberry before retiring.

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