Hickman takes Ulster GP hat trick and Man of the Meet
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.
“It’s been an awesome day and a massive thanks to the team as everything’s been spot on throughout. I’m obviously over the moon with a hat-trick of wins in what were extremely Peter Hickmantough, close races and that’s always the case at the Ulster GP. To win a race here, you know you’ll have to fight all the way to the end and getting a break is near impossible. I tried my best to make a getaway in all of the races but it only really came off in the Superstock race when there were a few damp patches. I led most of the laps in most of the races and was happy to be out front and although we had a problem in the final race, we can’t be disappointed at all. It’s been a mega day’s racing so thanks again to the team, well done to Dean Harrison for winning his first International big bike race win and best wishes to the injured riders.”
Fresh from winning the Welsh Open at Aberdare Park, Stroud’s Dan Cooper was back in action this weekend at the International Ulster Grand Prix road races and the 28-year old ensured it was another successful visit to the high-speed Dundrod circuit with a series of high class results, the best of which was an excellent second place finish in the Supertwins race.
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock
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.
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock Top 5
Centra Whitemountain Supersport
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.
Centra Whitemountain Supersport Top 5
Plant Lubrication (NI) Ultra Lightweight
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.
Plant Lubrication (NI) Ultra Lightweight Top 5
Plant Lubrication (NI) Lightweight
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.
Plant Lubrication (NI) Lightweight Top 5
MMB Surfacing Superbike
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.
MMB Surfacing Superbike Top 5
Barron Transport Services Supersport
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.
Barron Transport Services Supersport Top 5
Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins
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.
“It’s been a fantastic meeting and I’ve really enjoyed the week, the obvious highlight being the win in the Supertwins race. I knew it was going to be tough as it’s become a really competitive class and Dan was with me throughout. When he came by me, I thought I could have a go back at the Flowbog or Quarry Bends but I lost the front a couple of times and thought that was it. I got the power on through Dawson’s as soon as I could though and managed to get the win with the lap record being a bonus. I had good rides in all of the races and although I didn’t crack the 130mph barrier this year, I had some good results on the big bike and we made good progress all week whilst I also set my quickest ever lap on a 600 so, all in all, it’s been a highly successful meeting.”
Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins Top 5
Around a Pound Superbike
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.
Around a Pound Superbike Top 5
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.
It was also with much regret that the Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club confirmed that a rider was killed following a crash during the Dundrod 150 National race on Thursday 10th August. 35 year old Jamie Hodson from Wigan was involved in an incident at the ‘Joey’s Windmill’ section of the circuit. His brother Rob Hodson was involved in the same accident, but has no serious injuries.
An experienced rider, Jamie was the reigning Manx GP Supertwins champion, and this year achieved a top 10 finish in the TT Lightweight race. The Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club expressed its sincere condolences to Jamie’s family and friends and requests that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.
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