Thursday, July 7, 2022

IoMTT winner Peter Hickman: “There is nowhere in the world like the Isle of Man TT”.

Isle of Man. After a pandemic forced break of three years, the
road racers have returned to the Isle of Man TT. In 2022 one of the
big favourites is Peter Hickman (GBR) from the Gas Monkey Garage by
FHO Racing team. And ‘Hicky’ already justified this role by kicking
the race week off with a dominating win in Saturday’s RST Superbike
race – securing the first ever Isle of Man victory for the BMW M
1000 RR. He then also won Monday’s Superstock race. On Friday,
Hickman will compete in the prestigious Senior TT with his M RR. In
an interview, the successful BMW road racer speaks about the Isle of
Man TT, the unique 60 kilometre Mountain Course, his preparation and
the strong points of his bike.

Peter, how much did you miss racing on the Isle of Man?

Peter Hickman: “Yes, we missed two TTs and it has been actually three
years since any of us have been riding around here. It has been a long
time, but it is nice to be back. I am really happy with how the bikes
are working, and I am really happy with how the circuit has been
prepared. The organisers have done a great job and a lot of new
infrastructure has been added to the circuit and the organisation,
which helps us riders and teams and is a good thing. It means that
they are progressing and trying to make the event better, not just for
the spectators, but also for us teams and riders, which just makes our
job easier. So it is great to see the progress.”

How do you prepare for road races like the Isle of Man TT?

Hickman: “I am not entirely sure you can prepare yourself for the
Isle of Man TT. It is something so unique and different. I am racing
in the British Superbike Championship anyway, so I am race-fit, I am
on the bike and I feel like I am sharp in my head as I am racing
already. This is a different style of riding to what I normally do.
However, I don’t feel like I need to necessarily prepare directly for
this. I think what I do already prepares me enough.”

You have been racing on the Isle of Man for several years –
how do you prepare with regard to knowing the Mountain Course?

Hickman: “This is my seventh TT, my first one was in 2014. So from
2014 to 2019 I never missed one, and obviously what happened in the
world meant we have not been here over the last couple of years. The
track, to be honest, hasn’t really changed too much. There are some
new bits of tarmac but the shape is, of course, the same. It is a long
track, 60 kilometres or 37 ¾ miles, so there is a lot to remember. I
don’t actually know how many corners there are, somebody said it’s
about 260 corners, but I have no idea to be quite honest. Coming back
here, I had not done a lap since 2019 until maybe two or three months
ago at the launch for the TT in March. It has not changed much. I did
not forget anything, which is a bonus. I didn’t feel like I was lost
anywhere. I am happy to be back and I am enjoying the bike and the team.”

What skills do you need as a rider to ride at the Isle of Man
TT? And do you need to be a bit crazy to do it?

Hickman: “Special skills for the Isle of Man TT – not particularly, I
think. You maybe need to be a little bit crazy, I don’t know. I don’t
think I am crazy but people tell me I am. To be honest: it’s
calculated risk. It is just an awesome place to be. There is nowhere
in the world like the Isle of Man TT.”

What is your favourite part of the circuit and why?

Hickman: “I get asked a lot what is my favourite part of the Isle of
Man TT. My answer: it is from the start line to the finish line. The
entire circuit is amazing. There is no part that I don’t like. There
are bits that are more technical and difficult and there are bits that
can make you apprehensive or make you really make sure that you are on
your game. But overall it is just an awesome circuit. It has a bit of
everything, everywhere. It’s long, it’s got massive undulations, it’s
got bumps, it’s got smooth sections. It literally has everything. It
is unbelievable to ride.”

This year is your first Isle of Man TT on the BMW M 1000 RR.
Does the bike feel different to the ones you had before? How is it
to ride here with the M RR?

Hickman: “The BMW M 1000 RR is a different bike to ride here to the
ones in previous years. It’s definitely good to ride, and I have
really enjoyed it so far. I think there is more to come from it, as
well. It is just a nice bike to ride. I raced it in the 2021 British
Superbike Championship. We finished fifth in the championship, won a
couple of races, so I already understand the bike a lot, which was a
good position to be in coming to the Isle of Man. I didn’t need to
understand the bike, I just needed to understand the bike on this
track. For me, the BMW M 1000 RR is an easy bike to ride, I think
that’s one of the really strong points of it. Because if a bike is
easy to ride it means you can extract the best out of it easier and quicker.”

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