In the fourth qualifying session of the Isle of Man TT race 2023, the riders reached record speeds on their two- and three-wheelers.

In the Superbike category, it was Peter Hickman who set the fastest lap record on his Monster Energy by FHO Racing BMW.  With a starting speed of 133.797mph (215.32 km/h), he was just 0.162 seconds ahead of Michael Dunlop, who set a speed of 133.775mph (215.28 km/h) on his Hawk Racing Honda.

Also in the three-wheelers, Ben and Tom Birchall set a new qualifying record in their sidecar.  They even beat their own lap record with a speed of 119.414mph (192.19 km/h), also starting from a standing start.


Ideal conditions and record runs

As on the previous three days, the conditions on the fourth day offered ideal conditions.  This time James Hillier on his Superstock OMG Racing Yamaha led the field, followed by Hickman, Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda), Jamie Coward (KTS Racing Honda) and Dunlop.  But Coward was forced to stop at Sarah’s Cottage after less than ten miles, while Rob Hodson (SMT Racing Honda) had to retire early shortly after Kirk Michael exited.

Hickman reached the highest speed on the first lap at just under 134mph (215.65 km/h).  Other riders, including Todd (131.561mph, 211.72 km/h), Hickman’s teammate Josh Brookes (129.883mph, 209.03 km/h) and David Johnson (128.392mph, 206.63 km/h), also posted their fastest laps of the evening on the opening lap.  Dunlop’s opening speed was 133.191mph (214.35 km/h).


Continued high speeds and new records

In the second round, Hickman stayed consistently above 133mph (214.04 km/h), this time at 133.553mph (214.93 km/h).  Dunlop and Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) also maintained a similar pace with speeds of 132.728mph (213.60 km/h) and 132.700mph (213.56 km/h) on their Superstock machines.  Just two-tenths of a second separated the two, while Hickman put down a late lap of 131.952mph (212.35 km/h) in a solo session that lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes.

In the Superbike class, Dunlop switched to his Superbike after two laps on his Superstock machine and narrowly missed the fastest

lap of the evening.  Harrison took third after a lap of 132.921mph (213.91 km/h), followed by Todd, Brookes and Hillier.

Ryan Cringle, a local newcomer, broke the 120mph (193.12 km/h) barrier for the first time with a lap of 121.48mph (195.50 km/h).


Exciting racing in the Superstock class

In the Superstock class, Harrison, Dunlop and Hickman took the top three places, with Hillier in fourth after his first 130mph lap of the week at 130.195mph (209.53 km/h).  Mike Browne was an impressive fifth after a personal best of 129.104mph (207.77 km/h), with John McGuinness completing the top six with 128.821mph (207.32 km/h).

Dunlop, in addition to the Superstock class, was also fastest in the Supersport category with a lap of 127.557mph (205.28 km/h) – the fastest of the week so far – with Coward (124.675mph, 200.65 km/h) second.  Rounding out the top six were James Hind (124.553mph, 200.45 km/h), Hillier (122.276mph, 196.80 km/h), Harrison (122.518mph, 197.19 km/h) and Craig Neve (122.036mph, 196.43 km/h).  Freshmen Jorge Halliday and Jack Petrie again increased their speeds to 112.932mph (181.74 km/h) and 112.568mph (181.16 km/h).


Birchalls dominate the sidecar class

The Sidecar class concluded the evening and the Birchalls stole the headlines from their two-wheeled counterparts by smashing their 2018 lap record on their very first lap with an impressive speed of 119.414mph (192.19 km/h).

Ryan and Callum Crowe took second place, with their speed increasing to 116.142mph (186.89 km/h) ahead of Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (113.536mph, 182.71 km/h), Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (111.841mph, 179.99 km/h), John Holden/Maxime Vasseur (111.706mph, 179.77 km/h) and Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde (110.878mph, 178.45 km/h).

The Birchalls retreated, but Founds/Walmsley took another lap, at 117.587mph (189.25 km/h), to move into second place in the standings, with Steve and Matty Ramsden (110.878mph, 178.45 km/h) the only other crew to break the 110mph barrier. Daryl Gibson, a rookie, came close with Tom Christie in the sidecar, however, with a first lap speed of 109.795mph (176.70 km/h).


The fourth qualifying round of the Isle of Man TT 2023 was full of excitement and record performances.  With the fastest laps in the history of the qualifying week to date in both the two and three-wheel categories, the riders have definitely set the bar high for the upcoming races.

Participants and fans can look forward to more exciting days ahead as speeds remain at an all-time high and riders continue to give their best to break their personal and overall records.


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