James Hillier finished this year's Isle of Man TT Races in superb style when he claimed his first ever podium with second place in Saturday's Lightweight TT. The Ringwood rider had set the second fastest lap during practice week on the 650cc Kawasaki and, as expected, the race became a battle between James and race favourite Ryan Farquhar. The latter eventually prevailed but it was yet another brilliant ride by James and crowned a brilliant week for the Bournemouth Kawasaki Pr1mo Racing team.
Torrential rain on the Island wiped out all of Friday's race schedule and so the Lightweight and Senior races were moved back to Saturday but with parts of the circuit remaining damp, it meant further delays and, indeed, cancellation of the Blue Riband Senior race, the first time in the 105-year history of the event this had occurred. However, the 3-lap Lightweight race, re-introduced for 2012, did take place although it wasn't until 6.25pm that it finally got underway.
Starting at number 1, a strong start saw James lie in second place at Glen Helen on the opening lap, just two seconds behind Farquhar but the KMR Kawasaki rider, so influential in the class being held at the TT, was reeling him in and by Ramsey Hairpin, they were together on the road. At the end of the lap, Farquhar led by 14 seconds but as he pitted for fuel, James continued and so took over at the head of the field. At one stage, his lead was up to 25 seconds but having to pit at the end of the second lap, it would be the third lap before we would know the true running order. Lapping slightly slower than he had done during practice, James' lead when he stopped to refuel was down to 7 seconds and after his stop, Farquhar was now clear in the lead. However, James was secure in second and he duly completed the third and final lap to take a dream debut podium.
On Wednesday, Hillier finished in seventh place in the second Supersport TT race thus ensuring he finished in the top seven of all five of the solo races held this year. Sixth for the majority of the race, James got pushed back a place on the final lap but he set his best ever lap on a 600cc machine, 122.082mph, and the results meant he finished 5th overall in the Joey Dunlop TT Championship.
Speaking later, a delighted James said: I’ve been building up year on year so to get a podium is like a dream come true. I’ve been getting faster and my results have been improving and this just rounds off a brilliant week for me. I was getting a bit emotional over the last few miles when the reality of getting a podium began to sink in but I kept it going until the end and brought the bike home. It was a bit damp to begin with but not too bad so I read the flags and the road and conditions got better and better throughout so it was definitely the right call to run the race and it was good to see so many fans still lining the course. Overall, it's been a superb week for me and I've just been chipping away all fortnight. My aim was to build on last year and although I didn't improve my lap times as much as I would have liked, my results did improve and every race has gone faultlessly. I'm learning all the time, with each and every lap, so we'll get there and, hopefully, the podium this week, is the first of many. The team have been brilliant this week and I can't thank them enough - it's simply been a great fortnight."