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Hickman wins dramatic Superbike TT as Dunlop denied

Peter Hickman
Peter Hickman claimed TT win number 14 with his Superbike success [Pacemaker]

Peter Hickman emerged the victor from a dramatic Isle of Man TT Superbike race in which Michael Dunlop was denied what appeared to be a certain record-breaking win.

Dunlop, who equalled his uncle Joey's all-time wins tally of 26 with his success in Saturday's Supersport race, had established a 25-second lead by the end of lap four but an issue with his visor after his pit-stop meant he lost a significant amount of time and dropped down to fourth place.

The 35-year-old was forced to pull up on Bray Hill at the start of his fifth lap, remove his gloves, take off his helmet and adjust the sidepod on his vIsor.

Second-placed Davey Todd also dropped crucial time in the pits at the same stage of the race, allowing Hickman to take advantage of his rivals' misfortune, hit the front ahead of Dean Harrison and pull clear of the chasing pack on the final two laps.

The FHO Racing BMW rider's eventual winning margin over Todd was 5.8 seconds, with Honda Racing's Harrison completing the podium positions, 5.2 seconds in arrears of the Milwaukee BMW man.

Dunlop finished fourth, a further 15 seconds adrift, despite setting a new lap record for the Superbike class on his final circuit with the fastest lap of the race at 135.970mph.

For Hickman, it was a 14th TT success of his career and a third in the Superbike race, the Lincolnshire racer having also occupied the top step in 2019 and 2022.

The British Superbike rider's victories in the feature 'big bike' races also include wins in the blue riband Senior race in 2018, 2022 and 2023.

Todd led the Superbike race by 2.25 seconds from Dunlop after lap one as the leading riders played out a thrilling battle on the timesheets, separated by fractions of a second in the early stages.

His Hawk Honda Racing rival mounted a charge on his second circuit, producing a scintillating lap record at 135.543mph, which he later bettered, to lead Hickman by nine seconds, with Todd dropping back to third.

Dunlop incrementally extended his advantage before that late drama unfolded and Hickman assumed control at the head of the field.

'Not fast enough early on'

Peter Hickman
Hickman set a new race record time in winning by 5.8 seconds [Pacemaker]

Hickman was pleased to overcome his early deficit to take victory, albeit with help from the circumstances which beset his rivals.

He joins the late Mike Hailwood as the fifth most successful solo TT rider.

"The bike was pretty good. There was maybe a little issue but I just wasn't going quick enough early doors, no excuses," said the 37-year-old.

"It's a long old race round here and I maybe didn't try hard enough in the first few laps, I just didn't have the speed.

"It was just down to me but the longer the race went on the faster I got, I managed to build some momentum."

Hickman's race time was a record for the Superbike event, improving Dunlop's benchmark of 12 months ago by five seconds at one hour 42 minutes 56.113 seconds.

The Englishman has now won 11 of the last 14 races for 1000cc machines over the Mountain Course.

Two other English competitors, James Hillier and John McGuinness, completed the top six leaderboard.

Racing continues on Tuesday with the first Superstock race and the opening outing for the Supertwins.