Peter Hickman Dominates Final Three Races Of The Year

No form of racing is fun if it’s a parade—and luckily, that’s not usually a problem at the Isle of Man TT. While not all competitors are fighting for the lead at all times, there are usually strong rivalries between racers of similar levels of talent, especially if they have the machinery under them to match their ambitions. In 2023, one of the strongest rivalries on the Mountain Course was between Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman. 

It’s not difficult to see why, either—all you have to do is watch the two men race if you want to start to understand them. If the first two-thirds of the 2023 IOMTT race schedule was dominated by Michael Dunlop, in the end, the final third belonged entirely to Peter Hickman. 

On Friday, June 9, 2023, Hicky started the day with two major accomplishments in the second Superstock race of the year. For one thing, he set a new fastest lap record in the class on lap three—the final lap—maintaining an average speed of 136.358 miles per hour. (The speed record he broke, incidentally, was one that he’d also set in the first place.) At the end of that final lap, Hickman also took race victory, notching up his 11th-ever TT race win by over 17 seconds over Michael Dunlop in second place. Dean Harrison took the third step of the podium. 

Then came the second race of the day on Friday, June 9—the second Supertwin race of the 2023 TT. In a day with two races in which you’re competing, you can’t ask for a better result than to come away with wins in both races—and that’s exactly what Hickman did. This race saw a few retirements, starting with Paul Jordan and continuing with Jamie Coward a short time later. Not long after that, Michael Dunlop retired from the lead, leaving Mike Browne as the new head of the pack. 

Unfortunately for Browne, clutch problems ultimately forced his early retirement before he could complete the race and take victory. All that attrition resulted in Hickman taking the lead, which he turned into a victory by a total of 47.7 seconds over second-place finisher Pierre-Yves Bian and third-place Josh Brookes. It marked Hickman’s 12th TT race win of his career, putting him on equal numbers footing with TT racing legend Bruce Anstey. 

Finally, Senior TT day for the 2023 IOMTT dawned on Saturday, June 10, 2023. The Senior TT is the big one—the one that even non-TT/racing fans might talk about or hear about in a random news story. From the drop, Dean Harrison took an early lead, followed by Hickman not far behind and Dunlop behind him. Hickman was able to get past Harrison as they careened toward Ballaugh, after which point, he started widening that lead as much as he could.  

All the while, it seemed like Dunlop was slipping further and further behind Harrison. He was quick enough to maintain his third place in the running order, which is no small feat—but he wasn’t in a position to fight for either second or first.

It’s worth noting that the Senior TT has two scheduled pit stops, which always come with the possibility of changing a racer’s fortunes—which is why any racer worth their salt wants to open that lead as much as possible prior to entering the box. That way, they hopefully have a good enough time cushion built for themselves to buffer against a slower pitstop than their rivals. 

In Hickman’s case, although Harrison’s pit crew managed to get him out quicker at the first pit stop, Hicky’s time cushion still allowed him to maintain his lead, which was only diminished by a couple of seconds. In the end, Hickman won the 2023 Senior TT by a full 19.989 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Dean Harrison.  

As for Michael Dunlop, he ascended the third step of the podium for the Senior TT. While he made plenty of TT history earlier in the 2023 event by achieving his 25th TT race win earlier in the week (and slotting into second place for career TT wins of all time), Joey Dunlop’s status as winningest TT racer of all time will remain in place until at least the 2024 TT. 

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