Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Take a record-breaking IOM TT ride with Peter Hickman

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Take a record-breaking IOM TT ride with Peter Hickman

Saturday marks the start of the 100th Isle of Man TT, so this is a good time to ride with Peter Hickman on his mind-boggling 135.452mph record lap

It’s time to take a ride with Peter Hickman, his Smiths Racing BMW1000RR and the world’s most famous dead bug in last year’s Senior TT. We are starting the last of six laps, the final 37 ¾ miles of a 226.5-mile race that’s been run every year since 1911, apart from during the two World Wars and the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.

At the end of the fifth lap Hickman crosses the start/finish trailing rival Dean Harrison’s Kawasaki ZX-10R by almost two seconds. He has a mountain to climb, literally and metaphorically.

Hickman admits he’s never at his best in the first few miles of a TT, so by the end of lap one he’s 1.4 seconds behind Harrison. After three laps the gap has grown to 5.817sec. The race is slipping away from Hickman, but by lap four he’s in the groove, breaking Michael Dunlop’s lap record. to cut Harrison’s advantage to 1.402sec. By the start of lap six the gap is down to 1.063sec. This is where we join Hickman for the last lap, which is a bit like taking a ride in the Millennium Falcon, after Han Solo has hit the hyperdrive button.

We are using the lap timer at the top right of the screen. Speeds given are from GPS data, because wheel speeds and engine rpm vary too much due to bumps and lean angle. The video has been split into short sections to explain Hickman's lap in detail.

The bike is airborne at 184mph (0min7sec) over St Ninian’s crossroads and the plunge down Bray Hill begins. It feels like dropping off the edge of the earth, but it’s much worse at the start of the first, third and fifth laps, with a full tank of gas and new tyres. Bray Hill is flat-out all the way – 180mph at the dip.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Comments

I travelled from Australia in 2015 to be there.  Truly awesome to be at Tony East’s little motorcycle museum, hanging over the gate on the bend at Kirkmichael as the fast guys came past, pinned at 170+ mph.  I had my cap cinched up tight, yet every time they went past it just sucked the cap straight off my head. 

I’ve been known to get up to that speed in my younger years, on a dead straight road if conditions were perfect.  For these guys to do what they do around those roads in varied conditions and worse still dappled light, is just plain awe-inspiring.

 

F*ck yes!
Watching circuit racing I have sympathetic visceral experience. I lean, I gas, I reach through corners. "Me too!"

IOM? I cover my mouth like one does when exposed in public for doing wrong, or as though I am shocked by an overwhelming moment and may vomit. Un Be Lievable. "135mph? That isn't THAT fast." AVERAGE. ON A CURVY MOUNTAIN ROAD.

These are REAL motorcycle racers. Guy Martin was my favorite, the truck mechanic that managed to make his way ALMOST to the front. Now? Hicky makes a good case. Good guy, great team in Smiths. The new BMW is really good and still more to come.

"That jump, about 40 to 50 meters. Spinning, a bit of a wiggle. Staying on the right side where it isn't as bumpy, bum out of the saddle." Good lord. Pin point awareness. A tunnel. Nearly zero margin for error. The surface is NOT smooth nor consistent. I have zipped through mountain roads, sure. And gone nearly 180mph on both track and 3 lane highway. But NEVER have I done anything like this - the run off we are used to on closed circuits is such a luxury comparatively. This sh*t is just f*cking nuts. And intoxicating. How can anyone be this crisp, spot on throughout such a lengthy and varied course? Using every wee bit of tarmac? We are spending time on the other side of the veil of the living, just being with these riders. Stealing from the purse of heaven while the divine isn't paying attention to mortal details. Going this fast in such an unlikely place just can't register on the celestial accounting books. Just how long can one spend grabbing how much from God's pockets?

How the f*ck can ANYONE ride around this course at speed on anything bigger than a Moto3?! Totally nuts.

And beautiful.