FHO Racing concluded qualifying for the Isle of Man TT Races on Friday evening with both Peter Hickman and Brian McCormack in a strong position ahead of race week, in particular outright lap record holder Hickman, who topped the leaderboard for both the Superbike and Superstock classes.
After a three-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 35-year old quickly got re-acclimatised with the 37.73-mile Mountain Course in opening qualifying last Sunday. Although he encountered a few issues initially with the Gas Monkey Garage by FHO Racing BMW M1000RR in the Superbike class, he was fastest in the Superstock category at 126.490mph.
From there, the Louth-based rider has increased his pace in each session, on both bikes, culminating in the fastest Superbike lap of the week on Thursday evening. A speed of 133.220mph put him 6.83s clear of nearest rival Dean Harrison ahead of Saturday’s six-lap Superbike race and although Friday’s final session was hit by damp patches in the north of the island, he still lapped at an impressive 132.876mph.
It’s been a similar story in the Superstock category where he was again fastest with a lap of 130.695mph in Tuesday evening’s session. The advantage over second placed Davey Todd was almost nine seconds which leaves him equally well placed for Monday’s four-lap encounter.
For team-mate McCormack, qualifying has been a bit more challenging but a lap of 125.549mph on his Superstock machine on Thursday evening was a good confidence booster.
Happy with the performance of the bike and the feeling he’s been getting around the world-famous TT Course, the Waterford rider is now looking for more of the same with his FHO Racing/Roadhouse Macau Superbike BMW where he’s lapped slightly slower at 124.604mph.
Peter Hickman: “It’s been a good week of qualifying and although we’ve had a few little issues here and there with the bikes to begin with, the boys have all worked hard to rectify them and I was more than happy with the 133mph+ lap. I was equally as happy with Friday evening’s lap as conditions were far from ideal and I was rolling off all the way through the damp patches so it bodes well for the opening Superbike race. You can never be too confident at the TT bit it’s definitely been a case of so far, so good.”
Brian McCormack: “I’m very happy with how the Superstock bike’s been going and although I haven’t got a flying lap on it, I managed over 125mph from a standing start which was more than promising. I’m confident in what it’s doing and feeling very comfortable on it. I’ve had a few issues with the Superbike, primarily at the beginning of the week, but the team made some good changes for Thursday evening’s session and we made a good step forward. We just need to make a few more tweaks to get it to handle better and be a bit more consistent throughout the lap.”
Faye Ho, Team Principal: “It’s been a great week of qualifying ahead of the first race for both Peter and Brian and although we had a few issues at the beginning of the week – which is to be expected at the TT – the team have done a great job in working their way through them. Both riders are happy with the bikes and Peter’s times have obviously been very strong, especially his lap on Friday evening when there were a number of damp patches. We’re in a good place ahead of the Superbike race and we’re all looking forward to getting race week underway in a positive fashion.”
The six-lap Superbike race is scheduled to get underway at 12pm tomorrow – Saturday, June 4.