By Phil Wain BSN at Dundrod
History was made at the Ulster Grand Prix late on Saturday afternoon when Peter Hickman took a thrilling second 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.
“It was a really good race and it was the same as Thursday’s race when I had another great battle with Lee,” explained Hickman. “He’s a dead safe rider and you know you’re not going to get pushed onto the grass or anything but the Triumph was mega through the corners and it was my corner speed that ultimately helped me come out on top. I didn’t really have a plan for the last lap and actually took the lead earlier than I thought so once there, I just rode as hard as I could to keep Lee at bay.”
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 tenths 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.
Such was their pace, the gap to Cummins, who came through for third, was more than 16 seconda 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.