Who will break the Isle of Man TT’s lap record? “136mph is possible…”

The looming possibility of a new lap record at the 2023 Isle of Man TT will continue until somebody smashes it.
Who will break the Isle of Man TT’s lap record? “136mph is possible…”

Michael Dunlop unofficially surpassed it during qualifying but it is only during racing that the true Mountain Course record can be broken - nobody has ever hit 136mph but they are getting precariously close.

Current record holder Peter Hickman went 135.452mph in the 2018 Senior TT but knows that he could go faster on these public roads that are usually limited to 30mph.

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“I don’t know, I really don’t,” Hickman replied to The Telegraph when asked who might break the lap record. 

“Even in 2018, on my fastest lap I passed between six and 10 backmarkers. 

“There was oil down at the bottom of Barregarrow so I was a bit slower through there than normal, it probably cost me at least five seconds anyway and that would have put us into a 136mph. 

“So 136mph is possible. So who knows. 

“Hopefully that’s not needed!”

Hickman and his peers are acutely aware of the danger that exists with the TT inherently, and also with chasing speed records.

He explained: “Race wins come first.

“The record is nice, it’s a cherry on top, but at the end of the day race wins are what we’re here for and we want to win the race at the slowest possible pace.

“This whole game is more of a calculated risk than what people think. 

Who will break the Isle of Man TT’s lap record? “136mph is possible…”

“You’ve got to use your brain to limit the risk as much as possible and it just depends on where everyone else is and whether you’re willing to go further with it once the time is right.

“The difference will be whether people are on the limit already or not. 

“It’s ok going this fast already, but is everyone on the limit and they can’t go any faster? Or, is it because they’ve still got something left in the tank? You just don’t know, do you? 

“I know for me personally, not that I necessarily sandbag, but I tend to get faster day to day, whereas not everyone’s the same. 

“A lot of other people can get to their limit a lot faster and a lot earlier, then struggle to go any further.”

He added: “People think we’re idiots who just take our brain out and ride flat out. It doesn’t work like that.”

Hickman’s current lap record came from the all-time classic Senior TT five years ago when he edged Dean Harrison.

“It was an accumulation of the race and the two weeks and all the rest of it, where me and Dean were pushing each other a bit more and a bit more and a bit more, and it was that end of race, last lap and only a couple of seconds between us,” Hickman said.

“That was basically all cards on the table.”

This year, the great weather has added to the possibility of a new lap record.

Hickman even threatened to do it himself in the Superbike race on Sunday, when he finished behind only Michael Dunlop.

Dunlop’s two wins this year so far make him the man to beat, and perhaps the man to threaten the lap record.

But, clearly, it will not be chased at all costs.

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