Electrical gremlins mar RST Superbike Race for 'Dynamite' Hillier
Electrical problems denied James Hillier and the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki team a podium finish in Saturday’s Superbike TT race, the opening race of the 2016 festival but the Hampshire rider still brought the Kawasaki ZX-10R home in a solid 11th place.
The 31-year old had posted the 11th fastest time during practice week but always preferring to push hard in the races as opposed to practice, a great start to the race saw James slot into third place at Glen Helen, the first timing point nine miles into the lap.
By the end of the first 37 and ¾ miles, James had lapped at 130.359mph to lie in fourth place, just three seconds behind new third-placed rider and fellow Kawasaki rider Dean Harrison. Second time around, James increased his pace to 130.495mph but was now in fifth place as 23-times TT winner John McGuinness overhauled him.
James was looking secure in fifth place but two thirds of the way round the third lap, the bike cut out at the Gooseneck and he had to pull in to make adjustments. Electrical problems had caused the problem so turning the anti-wheelie and traction control devices off meant he was able to resume his race although it dropped him back down the order to 13th.
However, James, a six-time podium finisher at the TT, dug deep and although the bike was a little bit harder to ride, he continued to the end of the six laps and with two more laps in excess of 129mph, he fought his way back up to 11th place at the end of the 226 miles to maintain his excellent finishing record around the course.
“I’m a little bit frustrated with how the race went but I’ve had a good run here with very little trouble in the races for the past few years so I guess it was bound to happen at some stage! It was a fast pace right from the off and I was surprised to see Hutchy come by me so early but I was in P3 and although I got pushed back to fifth, a good result looked on the cards. Coming out of the Gooseneck on the third lap though the bike cut out and I had to stop half way up the hill on the way out.”
“I pressed as many buttons as I could, turning them off and on again and the bike eventually re-started although I kept many of the electronic aids, like the traction control, turned off. I carried on until the end and was pretty happy with my riding but although I didn’t make any mistakes, I know my sector times can be stronger so I need to make sure I string them all together next time out. I’m unhappy but also happy to have got back home for another finish.”
Pete Extance, Team Owner:
“It’s a real shame for James that he had the electrical problems as fourth place, at least, looked like a good possibility as he was lying in fifth place when the problem reared its head. He rebooted the system but had lost a lot of time although he kept going and brought the bike home for a creditable 11th place. He’s happy with the bike and happy with his times so he’ll be in a good place with the bike for next Friday’s Senior.”
Monday sees the action resume with the four-lap Supersport and Superstock races getting underway at 10.45am and 2.15pm respectively.
Photo credit: Tim Keeton/Impact Images Photography