Isle of Man TT: Hickman sets new lap record in opener

Hickman joined the illustrious 132mph brigade in only his third TT PICTURE: www.iomtt.com EMN-160606-084837002

Hickman joined the illustrious 132mph brigade in only his third TT PICTURE: www.iomtt.com EMN-160606-084837002

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Peter Hickman finished in a splendid fourth place in the opening race at the 2016 TT festival, setting his best-ever lap around the 37.73-mile mountain course.

The Louth rider averaged 132.892mph on the final of six laps, an amazing feat in only his third year of racing at the TT.

After completing just three laps on the GBmoto Kawasaki Superbike during practice week, Hicky set off on Saturday morning at the start of the gruelling six-lap affair and settled into seventh place on the first lap.

The pace was hot with both Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson smashing the lap record at the front of the field.

Hickman was riding well and completed the first lap in a fast time of 129.435mph. On the second, he moved up into sixth position and recorded a lap time of 130.683mph before coming into the pits for the first refuelling stop.

He was up to fifth on lap three and went on to complete lap four in another blistering time of 131.043mph before coming to a halt for his second refuelling stop.

It was then a dash through the final two laps to the flag and Hicky upped his speed to overtake Dean Harrison on time to move into fourth place.

The Lincolnshire rider was on a mission, and on the final lap retained fourth place and was beginning to catch John McGuinness who was holding third.

The gap in time exceeded 30 seconds at the start of the lap, but Hickman shaved a further 10 seconds off the gap between himself and McGuinness with his record lap.

“I am mega happy to join the 132mph club, and P4 in the first race of the week is ace,” he said.

“It was a top job by the team, they were up working at 2am this morning. But after all the problems, the bike ran mint today.

“In practice on Thursday night I jumped the bottom of Barregarrow a bit hard and ripped the sump bolt out! I couldn’t get back in time to get out again so had to sit out the rest of the session.

“Thanks to my team for getting me back out there today and also thanks to my sponsors and fans for their support.”

* Hicky is back out on the course on Monday in the Supersport and Superstock races with both races taking place over four laps.