James Hillier was left to ponder what might have been in today's Superbike TT when a faulty fuel filler cost him large chunks of time at the first pit stop and with it any chance of the race victory.
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki set the pace in the early stages, leading at Glen Helen, and although he was back in third at the end of the first lap, he was well in contention. Indeed, after Michael Dunlop retired, he was lying in second place behind Dean Harrison when he came in for his first pit stop but that was where his chances of a second TT win evaporated after a stop of 1m13s which compared to eventual winner Ian Hutchinson's 55.659s.
“I don’t really know what to say but it’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating to have something completely out of my control cost me a chance of the win. I felt really good and although the times were close between the front four, I was ready to be in it for the long haul and fight to the end. At the first pit stop though, the fuel took an age to go in and whilst I’m not necessarily saying I’d have won, I’d certainly have been in contention at the end,” Hillier told bikesportnews.com
“I’ve made the first lap one of my priorities and to get that first lap done and be so close to Michael (Dunlop) put me in good stead but it wasn’t meant to be. On the last lap Hutchy and I caught a backmarker which cost me a bit of time but he’s obviously doing his own thing and everyone gets a bit of that towards the end of the race so all I can do is put today behind me and look ahead. We’ve four more races so four more chances of a win.”
Circulating on the road with eventual race winner Hutchinson, Hillier put in two 130mph+ laps on laps four and six and was only 14.8s behind the Tyco BMW at the end of the six laps. The difference between their first pit stop was 18 seconds. The team managed to change the filler for the second stop and Hillier's stop was 56.257s compared to Hutchinson's 56.293s.