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Isle of Man TT Racing

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Hillier on superb form at the TT – James Hillier has been in superb form at the Isle of Man TT Races this week with the Quattro Plant Kawasaki rider setting personal best laps in all of the classes and taking three top seven positions in the three races held so far. The Hampshire rider has finished fifth, sixth and seventh to win three silver replicas and currently occupy fourth overall in the Joey Dunlop TT Championship.

James Hillier IOM TT 2013

After a practice week interrupted by weather, the opening Superbike race was delayed 24 hours until Sunday but a superb first lap, a new personal best of the 37 and 3/4 mile Mountain Course, of 128.749mph put James into a strong seventh place. Although he briefly slipped back to ninth place on the fourth lap, he regrouped well and with another 128mph+ lap on the sixth and final lap, he fought his way back up seventh at the chequered flag.

Despite a lack of practice time on the 600cc ZX-6R Kawasaki, Monday morning’s 4-lap Supersport 600cc race was arguably one of James’ finest TT rides to date as he finished in a superb fifth place. Circulating in close formation for the final two laps with eventual race winner Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey, John McGuinness and Cameron Donald, James lapped comfortably quicker than ever before in the middleweight class and with a final lap of 125.741mph, he was duly rewarded with an excellent fifth place.

2013 Isle of Man TT James Hillier Bournemouth Kawasaki

With little time to rest, James was back out two hours later for the 4-lap Superstock race and a superb start saw James lie in second place as the riders swept through Glen Helen, nine miles into the opening lap. As the race wore on though, James slipped back slightly although he was still running inside the top six. With the bike losing power, he had to nurse the bike home on the final lap but held on to sixth for his third successive top seven finish.

Second team member Steve Heneghan has also been in good form, finishing in 25th place in the Superbike race and 31st in the Superstock, winning two bronze replicas.

Speaking later, a pleased James said; “It’s been a really tough few days and I’m delighted to get through the three days with three good results. The start of the Superbike race went really well and to be running ‘P4’ at Glen Helen on the opening lap, and less than half a second down on John McGuinness, was ideal. At the start of he second lap though, the gear shifter broke and all I had to use was a little screw. John and Cameron caught me at Ballaugh and it wrecked my head a bit to be honest. It took me a while to get used to using the damaged shifter and then I had problems with my tear-offs. I took one off as planned but then the wind blew the second one off so I could barely see – when you start at number 1 you certainly get more than your share of bugs! I was on the verge of retiring but when Guy caught me I got back into my rhythm. I got held up by a couple of the tailenders and lost the tow so it was a hard race.”

2013 Isle of Man TT James Hillier Quatro plant Bournemouth Kawasaki

“It was a bit of a mixed bag on Monday with one race leaving me really happy and another leaving me a bit frustrated. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the Supersport race and to lap at almost 126mph was brilliant, especially as it came on the last lap. I led on the road for a long time but when the boys came by me, it was brilliant fun. There wasn’t much between any of us and I was able to learn a lot from all of them. The Superstock race wasn’t as good as I’d hoped though and we think there was an electrical problem as the bike was gradually losing power. I was way down on power along the straights so I was surprised that I was able to hold onto sixth. Overall though, it’s been a great start to the week and I’m looking forward to the remaning three races.”

Pete Extance, Team Manager: “It’s been a great effort from the team so far and James has been in impressive form, setting some excellent lap times particularly on the Superbike and Supersport machines. We’ve had three great results from the three races although it feels slightly strange to be disappointed with the 6th place in the Superstock race this afternoon. We know what James is capable of so it’s a shame a small electrical problem held him back. The whole team have been doing a great job with two good finishes from Steve as well so we’re all looking forward to Wednesday and Friday’s races now.”

The next race, the second 4-lap Supersport race, takes place at 12.00 on Wednesday with two races on Friday, the 3-lap Lightweight and six lap Blue Riband Senior.

Pictures by Pacemaker Press International Phil Wain Freelance PR

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