PACE PICKS UP AS HARRISON, HICKMAN AND DUNLOP ALL HIT 133
Qualifying for this year’s Isle of Man TT Races hotted up on tonight with the first 133mph laps of the week and it was Dean Harrison who was quickest, the DAO Racing Kawasaki rider topping the Superbike class at 133.514mph.
Harrison was only a second quicker than Michael Dunlop’s lap of 133.367mph on the Hawk Racing Honda with Peter Hickman (FHO Racing Monster Energy BMW) also breaking the 133mph barrier but in the Superstock class, topping it with a speed of 133.284mph.
Hickman was also fastest in the Supersport class, his lap of 127.206mph on the K2 Trooper Beer by PHR Triumph the quickest of the week, whilst Jamie Coward topped the Supertwins with a speed of 120.970mph on his KTS Racing Kawasaki. Ben and Tom Birchall were again quickest in the Sidecar class at 118.523mph on their Steadplan/Hager LCR Honda.
With the Island once again enjoying sun-kissed conditions, the Superbike/Superstock session was first out and in a change to previous sessions it was Hickman was the first to leave the line followed by Harrison and Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda).
They were quickly followed by Josh Brookes, Michael Dunlop and David Johnson with Hickman, Brookes, Todd and Dunlop all Superstock-mounted but it was Harrison who was quickest on the opening lap with a speed of 133.284mph.
Hickman lapped at 131.92mph on his Superstock BMW but Dunlop was quicker at 132.694mph whilst Todd posted a lap of 131.711mph with team-mate Conor Cummins slightly slower at 129.825mph. Jamie Coward lapped at a similar pace on his KTS Racing Honda, albeit in the Superbike class, at 129.818mph with James Hillier, John McGuinness and Michael Rutter the other riders over 128mph on the opening lap.
Harrison upped his pace to 133.514mph on his second lap but Hickman wasn’t too far behind on his Superstock BMW with a speed of 133.284mph. Dunlop switched to his Superbike and recorded a lap of 132.896mph with Coward setting a new personal best, albeit unofficial, at 130.940mph. John McGuinness also broke the 130mph barrier for the first time this week at 130.035mph.
Rutter was another to increase his pace with a lap of 129.147mph whilst Rob Hodson impressed, the SMT Racing rider lapping at 127.38mph which, like Coward, was an unofficial best for the Wigan rider. Newcomers Matthieu Lagrive and Ryan Cringle were also improving with respective laps of 117.088mph and 116.319mph.
Third time around, Dunlop looked to be on course for setting a new best of the week but a short lap, due to the Supersport/Supertwin session getting underway, meant he fell a second short of Harrison’s lap with a speed of 133.367mph. Hickman lapped just shy of 132mph whilst Cummins went fifth quickest with a lap of 130.615mph just behind Coward but ahead of McGuinness.
In the Supersport session, Dunlop opened with a lap of 124.973mph but Harrison went slightly quicker at 124.99mph only for Hickman to knock them down to second and third after a lap of 125.070mph. Harrison responded with a 125.145mph only for Hickman to have the final say with an impressive lap of 127.206mph. Fourth to sixth was occupied by Todd (124.579mph), Coward (124.484mph) and Hodson (123.195mph) and, elsewhere, newcomer Jorge Halliday posted his first 110mph lap of the Mountain Course.
In the Supertwin session, Coward’s strong evening continued as he set the second fastest lap of the week at 120.912mph. That was the quickest of the night although Mike Browne was continually getting to grips with his Paton and, after a first lap of 118.415mph, he increased that to 119.787mph on his second lap. They were followed by Brookes (116.937), Hodson (115.932), Rutter (115.163) and Francesco Curinga (114.552).
At 8.25pm it was the turn of the Sidecars with the Birchalls leading the way on the opening lap at 118.523mph, seven seconds quicker than Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (117.786mph) whilst Ryan and Callum Crowe were back on track after their spill at Laurel Bank on Monday and recorded a solid lap of 114.128mph.
Founds/Walmsley improved to 118.159mph on their second lap and although the Birchalls went back out after changing a front tyre, they stopped at Ballacraine.
Tomorrow’s qualifying session is set to get under at 18:30. Click here to view tomorrow’s schedule.