Ulster Grand Prix: Hickman earns treble as Anstey & Harrison take Superbike wins
Peter Hickman clinched a superb Ulster Grand Prix treble as Bruce Anstey and Dean Harrison earned dramatic Superbike wins on an exciting day of action.
Hickman won the opening Superstock and Supersport races and after being pipped by Anstey in the main Superbike race, then took a second Supersport win.
After Hickman's engine blew early on in Superbike Race 2, Harrison edged out Dan Kneen in a dramatic finale.
Ivan Lintin, Davy Morgan and Paul Robinson also earned wins.
Lintin produced a remarkable final-corner passing manoeuvre to pip Dan Cooper in the Supertwins event while Northern Ireland riders Morgan and Robinson took the victories in the concurrently-run lightweight/ultra-lightweight class.
After the death of Wigan rider Jamie Hodson at the meeting on Thursday and further crashes that left other riders Stephen Lynd and Gavin Lupton in a critical condition in hospital, competitors on Saturday escaped serious injury.
Hickman and Anstey do battle
Hickman, riding a Smith's BMW, led the opening Superstock race from the start as he finished 4.67 seconds ahead of Harrison, with Kneen in third.
Lincolnshire man Hickman, 30, fought out a thrilling duel with Anstey in Supersport Race 1 before eventually edging out the New Zealand veteran by 0.188 seconds, with Fermanagh rider Lee Johnston less than a second off the pace in third.
However, 48-year-old Anstey got his revenge in the blue riband seven-lap feature Superbike race as he pipped Hickman to earn his 13th Ulster Grand Prix win.
Hickman led going into the final lap after passing Anstey at Jordan's Cross on the penultimate circuit but the New Zealander refused to be denied as he regained the advantage to clinch a triumph which was greeted by the loudest cheer of the day at the start-finish area.
"Clive [Padgett, the team boss] has just put forward an awesome package with that bike and that was a pretty awesome race with Hickman," said the Wellington man.
Hickman regrouped to clinch his third win of the day in a restarted Supersport Race 2 as he held off Anstey and Fermanagh rider Lee Johnston after a sensational last lap.
Fermanagh man Johnston, back in action after breaking his back in a crash at the Isle of Man TT two months ago, attempted a couple of incredible late passing manoeuvres as the leaders battled on a dramatic final lap.
But Hickman held his nerve to complete a sensational win as he finished 0.31 seconds ahead of Anstey with Johnston a further 0.57 back in third.
Harrison snatches Superbike win over Kneen
Hickman looked favourite in the concluding Superbike Race 2 early on but a blown engine on lap two left the race wide open as Harrison, Kneen and Conor Cummins all led at stages.
Midway through the final lap, Isle of Man riders Kneen and Cummins almost had a coming together which allowed Bradford man Harrison to regain the lead.
Kneen moved ahead again late on the final circuit only for Harrison to somehow find a gap on the last corner to take a breathtaking victory.
The Manxman was unhappy with Harrison's late move. "I thought I covered the line but he just crashed into me really," said Kneen.
"If I was in that position, I would have given way. That was a bit hairy."
Harrison said: "There was a bit of rubbing and elbow bashing out there but we're all back in the winners' enclosure in one piece."
Lintin's late move denies Cooper
Lintin's earlier Supertwins win was almost as dramatic as he had only 0.02 seconds to spare from Cooper after another final-corner move.
The race had been a pedestrian affair as Lintin had a comfortable lead before Cooper stormed ahead midway through the final lap but the Supertwins specialist produced his late overtaking heroics to earn a third Ulster Grand Prix win in the class.
Northern Ireland's Adam McLean was third, 22 seconds behind Lintin.
Saintfield man Davy Morgan won the lightweight class ahead of Welsh veteran Paul Owen after the retirement of runaway leader Neil Kernohan while Ballymoney rider Paul Robinson edged out Christian Elkin by 0.21 seconds in the concurrently-run Ultra-Lightweight class.
|Superstock Race 1|
|1. P Hickman (Eng) BMW|
|2. D Harrison (Eng) Kawasaki||+4.674|
|3. D Kneen (IOM) BMW||+4.718.|
|Supersport Race 1|
|1. P Hickman (Eng) Triumph|
|2. B Anstey (NZ) Honda||+0.188|
|3. L Johnston (NI) Honda||+0.947|
|1. D Morgan (NI) Honda|
|2. P Owen (Wal) Honda||+4.505|
|3. C Laidlaw (Sco) Yamaha||+9.342|
|1. P Robinson (NI) Honda|
|2. C Elkin (Eng) Honda||+2.16|
|3. J Thompson (Eng) Honda||+8.089|
|Ulster Grand Prix Superbike Race|
|1. B Anstey (NZ) Honda|
|2. P Hickman (Eng) BMW||+0.272|
|3. D Harrison (Eng) Kawasaki||+1.060|
|Supersport Race 2|
|1. P Hickman (Eng) Triumph|
|2. B Anstey (NZ) Honda||+0.314|
|3. L Johnston (NI) Honda||+0.880|
|1. I Lintin (Eng) Kawasaki|
|2. D Cooper (Eng) Kawasaki||+0.024|
|3. A McLean (NI) Kawasaki||+22.138|
|Superbike Race 2|
|1. D Harrison (Eng) Kawasaki|
|2. D Kneen (IOM) BMW||+0.106|
|3. C Cummins (IOM) Honda||+0.391|