Peter Hickman and the Smiths Racing BMW team ended their 2017 Isle of Man TT Races campaign with second place position in Friday’s Senior, giving the Louth-based rider five podiums from his five race starts.
The results meant that Hickman won the Joey Dunlop Championship trophy, awarded to the best performance by a rider over the course of the week, with Smiths Racing also winning the trophy awarded to the best team.
Despite a slipping clutch, Hickman was involved in a titanic battle with fellow BMW rider Ian Hutchinson for one and a half laps of the six-lap race with just 0.18s separating the duo but the latter was involved in a crash at the 27th Milestone, suffering a broken femur, which brought out the red flag and the race was restarted over the shorter distance of four laps.
Eventually getting underway at 5.15pm, and with the clutch replaced, Hickman’s first lap in the re-start was 131.744mph, which placed him 4.3s behind race leader Michael Dunlop but although the 30-year old quickened his pace second time around to 132.254mph, so too did Dunlop and he extended his advantage to 9.2s.
An excellent pit stop by the time and a strong first sector on lap three saw Peter bring the gap down to 7.7s but Northern Ireland’s Dunlop had the race under control and eventually took the win by 13.3s.
“What can I say, it’s been an absolutely unbelievable week and five podiums from five races is mega, ” he said afterwards. “The first part of the race was shaping up to be a cracker and although Hutchy and I were neck and neck, the clutch was starting to slip so we managed to change it in between races. It was a shame what happened to Hutchy and I wish him well but the re-start went perfectly for me.”
With a final lap again in excess of 131mph, Hickman brought the BMW S1000RR home in second place for his fifth podium of the week and the twenty points for second saw him clinch the much coveted Joey Dunlop Championship Trophy. And with three second places and a third, Smiths won the team trophy to complete a superb week on the island.
“There wasn’t as much grip out there today due to all the rain we’ve had but apart from that, the race was mint. The boys did a great job at the pit stop and although Michael was that bit stronger than me, we did what we needed to do and got another second place. I came here with no podiums but leave with five and although it would have been nice to win, I can’t complain one bit and it was amazing to ride round today with so many fans lining the track.”