DALY’S HYUNDAI SUPERSTOCK RACE
Peter Hickman romped to his third victory at the 2019 fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix when he dominated proceedings in a heavily delayed Daly’s Superstock race on Saturday afternoon.
Heavy rain and mist in the morning meant it was 12.45pm before any track activity took place but when racing did get underway, the Smiths Racing BMW rider disappeared into the distance to eventually win by 24.2s from Davey Todd with Conor Cummins in third.
Hickman grabbed the lead the minute the lights went green but it was a disaster for fellow front row starter Lee Johnston who dropped all the way back to tenth whilst Jamie Coward, fourth in qualifying, pulled in at the end of the warm-up lap.
Hickman’s lead over Todd on the Penz13.com BMW at the end of the first lap was only half a second as Dean Harrison slotted into third but as soon as he crossed the line he sat up and raised his hand to retire. It was close for fourth though as Michael Sweeney, David Johnson, Derek Sheils and Cummins were locked in battle.
Second time around and Hickman doubled his advantage and it was now Johnson on the Honda that was in third with Cummins moving into fourth ahead of Sheils, Sweeney and the recovering Johnston. Michael Dunlop, who started from the second wave, was up to eighth.
On lap three, Hickman pulled the pin and a lap of 122.830mph, the fastest of the race, saw his lead jump to five seconds but further back, Cummins overhauled fellow Honda rider Johnson for third. The battle for fourth continued to rage though with Johnston continuing to move forward.
The final two laps saw Hickman extend his advantage considerably as he lapped more than five seconds a lap quicker than Todd but the latter had a comfortable gap over Cummins and was able to ease off. The Manxman had left the group behind him as just half a second covered Johnston, Johnson, Sheils and Sweeney.
Hickman duly took the chequered flag for his third win of the week, and ninth UGP win in total, with Todd taking his first UGP podium in second. Cummins again finished third with Johnston rueing what might have been as he took fourth.
Sheils, Johnson and Sweeney were close behind with Dunlop taking eighth ahead of David Jackson and Brian McCormack.
CENTRA WHITEMOUNTAIN SUPERSPORT RACE
Peter Hickman’s dominance of this year’s Ulster Grand Prix continued on Saturday afternoon when he swept to victory – his fourth of the meeting – in the opening Supersport race on the Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph.
Hickman moved ahead of Davey Todd on the run towards Leathemstown on the first lap and never looked back, eventually coming home 8.3s clear of the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha of Lee Johnston. Todd held onto third despite suffering from a lack of vision.
Hickman’s lead over Todd was 1.37s at the end of the first lap with Johnston 0.8s further back in third and Todd’s Milenco by Padgetts Honda team-mate Conor Cummins well in contention in fourth. Jamie Coward slotted into fifth ahead of Michael Sweeney whilst Mike Norbury was having a great ride from the second wave and was up into eighth.
Lap two and with the clear road ahead of him, Hickman’s lap of 118.835mph saw him extend his lead to 4.63s but it was Johnston who was now in second as Todd’s steamed up visor saw him drop into the clutches of Cummins. Coward was now in a lonely fifth as Sweeney and Derek Sheils disputed sixth.
A new fastest lap of 119.242mph on lap three enabled Hickman to double the gap to Johnston who had now pulled clear of the battle for third which saw Todd and Cummins split by less than half a second.
Hickman went quicker still on the fourth of five laps, 119.329mph proving to be the quickest of the race, and he eventually ran out victor by 8.3s from Johnston who, like Thursday, took another second place.
Todd edged out Cummins by the miniscule margin of 0.042s and with Coward safe in fifth, Sheils got the better of Sweeney on the final lap to take sixth.
Frenchman Xavier Denis had another good ride into eighth with Dominic Herbertson and Brian McCormack completing the top ten. Norbury slipped back to 11th, a good result nonetheless, with American Patricia Fernandez taking a solid 16th place.
MMB FEATURE SUPERBIKE RACE
Peter Hickman equalled Phillip McCallen’s 23-year old record of five wins in a meeting at the Ulster Grand Prix when victory in Saturday’s feature Superbike race maintained his 100% winning record at this year’s event.
The Smiths Racing BMW rider had to work a bit harder on this occasion than his two previous races on Saturday but once he’d seen off the early challenge of Dean Harrison, he edged away to win by an eventual 3.018s. Harrison slipped back to third before overhauling Conor Cummins on the last lap.
It was the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider who got the holeshot but his lead over Hickman at the end of the first of the six laps was only 0.117s with Cummins only half a second further back in third. They’d made a bit of a break over fourth placed Derek Sheils as Lee Johnston made his now customary slow getaway and dropped as low as tenth.
Hickman grabbed the lead going into Rock Bends with Cummins also getting past Harrison, this time on the high speed run through Budore, and a lap of 123.603mph gave Hickman a 2.1s lead at the end of the lap. Only 0.4s separated Cummins and Harrison as Sheils maintained fourth ahead of Johnston and Davey Todd.
By half race distance, Hickman’s lead had more than doubled to 4.7s, aided by a lap of 125.517mph but he was given a warning by the damp conditions as the rear wheel stepped out as he rounded Dawson’s onto the start and finish.
Harrison had moved back up to second only for Cummins to regain the runners-up spot along the Flying Kilo on the fourth lap and as they continued to battle, Johnston closed in rapidly.
As the race entered its final stages, spots of rain began to fall once more and with his lead having got as high as six seconds, Hickman eased back slightly on the final lap to win by more than three seconds. It was his fifth win of the meeting and 11th Ulster GP win in total, which is already the joint fifth highest total of all time.
The battle for second went all the way to the line but with the fastest lap of the race, 126.321mph, it was Harrison who got the verdict from Cummins by 0.865s, the Manxman taking his third podium of the week.
Johnston took fourth with Todd taking fifth as Sheils slipped back slightly to sixth. David Johnson had a relatively lonely ride into seventh as Frenchman Xavier Denis’s excellent week continued with eighth. David Jackson and Mike Booth completed the top ten.
MAXWELL FREIGHT SERVICE SUPERTWINS RACE
For the second time in three days, the Supertwins class at the Ulster Grand Prix served up a thrilling race as Christian Elkin and Joseph Loughlin disputed the win throughout the five laps but on the sprint to the line it was former double 125cc British Champion Elkin that came out on top on the Dynobike Kawasaki by 0.078s!
The duo seized control from the outset and it was Loughlin who held the advantage on the Team ILR/Mark Coverdale Paton at the end of the first lap by 0.269s as Lee Johnston slotted into third on the Ashcourt Racing/KMR Kawasaki. Meanwhile, a three-way dice for fourth was taking place between Thursday’s winner Paul Jordan, Jamie Coward and Ian Lougher.
Loughlin added a tenth of a second to his lead on the second lap but on the third lap around the 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit, Elkin hit the front at Pullitt’s Gate and he held sway by 0.174s as they headed into the penultimate lap. Johnston remained in third but a charging Coward had left Jordan and Lougher behind as he began to close in on the Northern Irishman.
Elkin lapped at 115.700mph on lap four to extend his advantage to more than half a second but the fifth and final lap saw him and Loughlin exchange the lead on numerous occasions. The latter led going into the hairpin only for Elkin to ride round the outside of him at the Flowbog Crossroads.
A backmarker on the run in to the line gave Loughlin a chance but Elkin grabbed his fourth UGP win by just 0.078s as Loughlin took his second successive runners-up spot. Johnston upped his pace in the closing stages to see off Coward with Jordan just getting the better of veteran Lougher for fifth.
Michael Sweeney, Jonathan Perry, Ryan Gibson and James Chawke completed the top ten.
SKEGNESS RACEWAY SUPERPSORT RACE
History was made at the Ulster Grand Prix late on Saturday afternoon when Peter Hickman took a thrilling Supersport race win from Lee Johnston to become the first rider to win six races in a single meeting.
The pair were never more than inches apart and each led on a number of occasions but it was Hickman who prevailed on the Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph to get the win at the end of the six laps by 0.145s.
Hickman suffered a bit of drama on the opening lap when the filler cap sprung open on a number of occasions but he still completed the lap in second place, only 0.169s behind Johnston on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha. Jamie Coward was going great guns in third with the Padgetts Honda pairing of Davey Todd and Conor Cummins close behind.
The second lap saw the gap between the front two come down to 0.088s and they were steadily edging away from the three-rider battle for third with Michael Sweeney circulating in a safe sixth.
Hickman took the lead along the Flying Kilo on the third lap but by Wheeler’s Johnston was back in the lead and the gap at half race distance was even closer than the lap before at 0.066s! Todd had now moved ahead of Coward as Cummins kept a watching brief in fifth.
A lap of 126.007mph on lap four saw Johnston eke out his lead to 0.101s and there was now just three thents of a second between Todd, Coward and Cummins but all eyes were on the battle for the lead as it entered its closing stages.
Hickman again went ahead at Rock Bends on the penultimate lap only for Johnston to regain the lead but on the final lap, the Lincolnshire-based rider made the pass stick and although they were side by side on more than one occasion, he was able to hold on for his sixth victory from his six starts.
The gap at the end was only 0.145s and they were some 16 seconds clear of Cummins, who came through for third, at the chequered flag. Todd had to settle for fourth behind his team-mate with Coward in fifth and Sweeney sixth.
Dominic Herbertson, Xavier Denis, Joseph Loughlin and Tom Weeden rounded out the top ten.
AROUND A POUND SUPERBIKE RACE
Peter Hickman’s phenomenal run of success at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix ended exactly as it had started with the Smiths Racing rider taking Saturday’s second Superbike race to make it seven wins from seven starts.
With conditions the driest they had been all day, Hickman lapped at more than 134mph to win by almost seven seconds from Dean Harrison with Conor Cummins again in third.
The race got underway at 7pm and it was Harrison who got the jump off the line but Hickman soon moved to the front and he led at the end of the first of six laps by just over a second on the BMW S1000RR. Cummins slotted into third ahead of Davey Todd, David Johnson and Derek Sheils.
Second time around and a lap of 133.807mph saw Hickman double his advantage over Harrison with Cummins remaining in third and the trio had broken away from the rest of the field with Todd still at the head of the chasing pack.
He had David Johnson for close company whilst Derek Sheils, Brian McCormack, Jamie Coward and Michael Sweeney were locked in battle for sixth.
Another near 134mph lap on the third lap enabled Hickman to maintain his lead at half race distance but Harrison wasn’t letting him get away and with a lap only marginally slower, he kept the gap down to 2.195s.
However, Hickman put the hammer down on the fourth lap and despite the light beginning to fade, a lap of 134.504mph, the fastest of the race, meant his lead increased to 3.2s with just two laps to go.
Harrison and Cummins were comfortable in second and third but Todd and Johnson were still disputing third before the latter tipped off at the hairpin on the penultimate lap, fortunately without injury.
With spots of rain beginning to fall, Hickman brought the Smiths Racing BMW home to make it an unbelievable seven wins from his seven starts and he crossed the line 6.849s clear of Harrison with Cummins again having to settle for third.
Todd had a lonely final lap to end his week with a good fourth place but the battle for fifth place went all the way to the end and it was Coward who came out on top from Sheils, Sweeney and McCormack, the quartet covered by just half a second at the chequered flag.
Phil Crowe and Michael Booth completed the top ten.