James Hillier and the Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki team enjoyed another strong day of racing at the Isle of Man TT Races on Thursday (6th June) when the Hampshire rider took third place in the Supersport race for his 14th TT podium.
Hillier followed this up with seventh place in the afternoon’s Superstock encounter.
Having originally been scheduled for 10.45am on Wednesday, the Supersport race was cut from four laps to two and eventually got underway at 12.55pm on Thursday. In dry conditions all around the Mountain Course, Hillier posted an opening lap of 126.82mph to slot into third place, just over five seconds behind race leader Peter Hickman.
At Glen Helen on the second lap positions remained the same as three and a half seconds now covered the leading trio, but as the lap continued Hickman and second-placed Dean Harrison edged away, leaving Hillier in a comfortable third. A lap of 127.59mph saw him hold onto third and claim his 14th TT podium, only four and a half seconds adrift of Harrison.
The 34-year old had earlier had a practice lap on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR Superstock bike in preparation for the afternoon’s three-lap race in which Hillier moved into third at Glen Helen first time around, just 1.58s adrift of Harrison.
As the lap wore on the gaps between the positions widened, and with a first lap speed of 129.511mph, James found himself in fourth position. All hopes of another podium disappeared, unfortunately, at the mandatory pit stop at the end of the lap as he was given a 30-second penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane.
As a result, Hillier dropped down the order to ninth but, undeterred, he kept pushing on, and by the end of lap two, he’d worked his way back up to seventh, having overhauled Gary Johnson and Davey Todd. On the third and final lap, he posted his best lap of the race, 130.204mph, and duly took the chequered flag in a solid seventh place.
He said: “I gave it everything I had in the Supersport race but I made a few mistakes at the beginning of the second lap and missed a few of my apexes so it’s a little bit disappointing, although you’ll always take a TT podium.
“After a second place in Monday’s race I was hopeful of going one better today, particularly as conditions were good, but I gave it my all and there wasn’t anything left in the tank. It was a hard race as they always are here now but I enjoyed the race and it was a good start to the day.
“Unfortunately the pit lane penalty ruined the Superstock race and having seen my pit board go from P4 to P9, my head fell off a little bit! It took me a while to get going after that but the bike felt good so I pushed on as best I could and got a half decent finish.
“Hicky’s got that bit more than anyone at the moment and I need to find a bit more speed on the big bike, but we’ve got one more race to go so I’ll have one last push and see where we end up.”
Team owner Pete Extance commented: “It was a strong 600cc race for James and with just two laps to ride it was always going to be a close race, so to finish only eight seconds off the win was a great achievement. We knew from the start it was going to be tight and James made a great start to lead at Glen Helen, and we all know he didn’t leave anything out there. Another podium was a great result for James and the team.
“James started the Superstock race in fine style and he was certainly in contention for one of the lower podium positions, but unfortunately the penalty in pit lane ruined his chances. It dropped him a long way down the order but he battled hard until the end like we knew he would, and he finished in a strong seventh position. We just have the Senior race to go now so let’s see if we can finish on a high.”
Monster Energy Supersport race (2 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (Triumph)
2 Dean Harrison (Kawasaki)
3 James Hillier (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki)
4 Conor Cummins (Honda)
5 Jamie Coward (Yamaha)
6 Michael Dunlop (Honda)
RL360 Superstock TT race (3 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (BMW)
2 Dean Harrison (Kawasaki)
3 David Johnson (Honda)
4 Michael Dunlop (BMW)
5 Conor Cummins (Honda)
6 Michael Rutter (BMW)
7 James Hillier (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki)