2022 Isle of Man TT
By Ben McCook
Peter Hickman put in a blistering performance to take yet another victory in Monday evening’s Superstock race. Hickman was in no mood for messing around on his Gas Monkey FHO BMW after falling short in that morning’s Monster energy Supersport race when he finished 3rd. It looked as though the Lincolnshire man was in a class of his own until a final lap twist saw Conor Cummins bang in a devastating lap of 133.1 mph. But it was too-little-too-late for the Manxman who is still, unbelievably, without a TT win in his career.
The race had been postponed until 1835 after a red flag incident occurred towards the end of the Supersport race earlier that morning. Unfortunately, the news filtered through towards the end of the day that stalwart Davy Morgan had lost his life in a race that saw him start his 80th TT. Shocking news for the road racing community.
The delay to proceedings had a knock-on effect throughout the day and so, part of the course was opened for a short time to let locals return home from work and allow island life to function. By the time racing got under way, the infamous Manx Midges were out in force and the tiny bugs would cause great discomfort for spectators and visibility issues for the competitors.
Initially, it was Davey Todd who took up the task of challenging Hickman. At the first split just 4s covered the top 7 with Dean Harrison, Michael Dunlop, Conor Cummins, Lee Johnston and Ian Hutchinson all in contention. But by Ramsey the Gas Monkey BMW was starting to stretch its legs; Hickman had a 7.6s lead – an ominous development for the rest before he had even reached his beloved mountain section.
It’s well documented that Peter loves the mountain… riders coming from the British championships normally do. They treat Snaefell like a circuit and attack the sweeping bends in the same manner they would approach the likes of Woodcote at Silverstone, or Coppice at Donington Park.
By the time they pitted at the end of lap 1 Hickman had a healthy lead and the attention soon turned to the battle for 2nd. (As in the earlier SSP race, those in charge had stipulated that all riders must stop at the end of lap 1).
At this point Cummins began his charge. The 2-metre man hit 3rd but there was still a gap to his team-mate Todd who looked comfortable in 2nd and had managed to claw 2s back from Hickman.
Cummins and Harrison were scrapping it out for 3rd as Lee Johnston dropped out which gave Michael Dunlop some breathing room in 5th. Honda mounted Dunlop was somewhat off the boil compared with his previous performance that morning.
It wasn’t until Cummins went through Glen Helen on the final lap (the only flying lap of the race) that people began to sit up and take notice of the work he was doing. The Ramsey Barista posted a ‘purple sector’ on that final charge out to the old commentary point – the fastest of anyone in the race.
By the time he had reached Ballaugh, Cummins was ahead of his Milenco Honda team-mate, Todd, and he would continue to lead into the next split in his hometown of Ramsey. ‘Conrod’ was flying.
Suddenly people began to consider the unthinkable. Could he catch Hickman? The leader had reached slower riders on the road and the gap was shrinking.
Ex-rider-turned-commentator, Mark Miller exclaimed as the live feed showed Hickman and Todd scratching into Creg-ny-baa for the final time; hard on the brakes. Minutes later they would cross the line together- the stop watch was not required to tell us that Hickman was 20s ahead having started that exact margin behind the No. 8, just over an hour earlier.
A half-hearted countdown then began for the Isle of Man’s favorite son (a change in the lead was unlikely but you just never know at the TT). Cummins had set off directly behind Hicky, so the wait amounted to a 10-count. In the end Conor fell short by 12.7s.
In reality a Hickman win was never in doubt. But the sheer pace of Cummins had the crowd buzzing and hanging on every word as the commentary team documented that final last lap. It doesn’t hurt to dream.
133.1 mph lap is a personal best for Cummins and his first at over 133. His team-mate Todd completed the podium in what was a real upturn in fortunes for the Milenco Padgett’s pair.
Todd in particular was really down after the earlier Supersport race. He admitted that the tire issues he had experienced in the SBK TT were playing on his mind and he had not enjoyed the race. He was a changed man as he celebrated this first ever TT podium.
Behind them Harrison and Dunlop finished 4th and 5th with Jamie Coward again finishing in a fine 6th position- a 3rd in a row at this year’s event. Harrison had made a last-minute swap to Metzeler rubber ahead of the race.
Hutchinson was 7th with Herbertson, McGuinness and Phil Crowe over the top ten.
Cummins might now be considering using the Stock bike in the Senior if this is the pace it is capable of. Laps of 133 would certainly have him challenging.
However, tonight is all about Hickman. Yet again he has taken all before him in a 1000cc contest. If he hadn’t ran into traffic on that final lap it’s quite possible that he would have lapped faster than the 132.274 mph he clocked (impressive in itself) and eclipsed Cummins effort, stealing whatever small glory the Manxman took from that fastest lap. Only a fool would bet against Hickman taking the Senior on Friday.
As for Glenn Irwin, the factory backed Honda man pulled in citing stability concerns with the bike and chose not to complete the race.
Superstock TT Results
- Peter Hickman – BMW
- Conor Cummins – Honda +12.701s
- Davey Todd – Honda +7.665s
- Dean Harrison – Kawasaki +6.849s
- Michael Dunlop – Honda +12.477s
- Jamie Coward – Yamaha +18.464s
- Ian Hutchinson – BMW +14.625s
- Dominic Herbertson – BMW +23.743s
- John McGuinness – Honda +7.521s
- Phillip Crowe – BMW +13.437s