Hillier finishes on a high
Picture by Tim Keeton/Impact Images Photography
James Hillier and the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki team ended the Isle of Man TT Races on a fantastic high when the Hampshire rider took second in both the Lightweight and Senior races on Friday. The 30-year old also became the third fastest rider in the history of the event with his final lap in the Senior being a stunning 132.414mph.
James opened his account for the day with his second rostrum finish of the week when he took a close second in the Lightweight race. He claimed a new record of 120.848mph on the final lap but ended 3.9s adrift of race winner Ivan Lintin. With a win in 2013 and second in both 2012 and 2014, it was James’ fourth successive podium in the class.
With only 45 minutes before the Senior race start, 6 laps was going to be a big ask for James but with the race only a lap and a half old, it was red flagged due to an incident and eventually restarted over 4 laps at 2.45pm. When it did, James was immediately on the pace and an opening lap of 131.467mph placed him in third, just three seconds behind race leader John McGuinness.
Another 131mph+ lap second time around maintained his third place but as the race wore on, he was able to close in on second placed Ian Hutchinson. With the fellow Kawasaki rider suffering from a damaged exhaust, James moved ahead at the beginning of lap four but he really flew round the Mountain Course and lapped at over 132mph for the first time to claim his third podium of the week and sixth in total.
On Wednesday, James put in his best ever performance in the Supersport class when he took an excellent fourth in the second 600cc encounter. Leading in the early stages of the race, James was locked in battle with Guy Martin for the final podium position and although he had to settle for fourth, he did set his quickest ever lap in the class with a speed of 126.709mph.
James Hillier: “To be sitting here with second in the Senior is unreal and it’s hard to explain that final lap. I kept pushing, hit all my markers and the 132mph lap happened! I’m overwhelmed and am made up for the team as much as myself as they’ve put such a massive amount of effort in. I can’t believe it and it’s been a mega week for all of us. We’ve been battling at the front of all our races but hats off to John today. The race pace this week has been crazy but it’s been a cracking week and we’ll be celebrating later for sure!’
“The last lap of the Lightweight didn’t feel as fast as what it was but I was riding the wheels off the bike and had a few moments. I’m happy to get the lap record but a little disappointed not to win and perhaps I could have been a bit quicker on the opening lap. I gave it everything I had the whole way through but just wasn’t quite quick enough to get the better of Ivan. The gap was close on the last lap and it kept going up and down, which is hard to get your hear around but it’s another podium and full credit to the team who’ve been mega.”
Pete Extance, Team Owner: “It’s been an incredible day. We believed we could finish on the podium in the Lightweight class if the bike behaved itself and James rode a great race to bring the bike home in second.”
“A four lap race probably suited us better than six and he showed his potential by setting an incredible pace. He did all four laps on his own, without a tow from anyone, and to join the 132mph club is amazing. Finishing second in the Senior TT is pretty special. James has taken two Superbike podiums, one in the Lightweight class, two fourths and a sixth and so it’s been an amazing event for us. I’m pleased for all the team and thanks to all our sponsors for making it happen.”
The team now turn their attention back to the British Superbike Championship with the fourth round taking place at Snetterton on June 19-21.