Represented in every class bar the TT Zero electric bike race, Kawasaki riders distinguished themselves across practice and race week with strong results in every single race.
Headline achievement was the race win by James Hillier on his Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki ER-6f in the lightweight race which took place on the last day of competition. Establishing a new lap record on his first circulation of the 37 ¾ mile track, the talented young rider raised the bar yet further on his last ”flying lap” with a time that broke the grandstand timing light beam to establish a lap at an average of just over 119mph.
With hot TT prospect Dean Harrison some 33 seconds behind in runner up spot on his Kawasaki, third place was secured by local Manxman, Conor Cummins, likewise Kawasaki ER-6f mounted. In all, the top 27 places were filled by Kawasaki riders making the lightweight class a major success story for the Japanese manufacturer.
Such success was not confined to the Lightweight TT for Kawasaki riders with a swathe of top ten placings across the week of competition.
In both Supersport races, Hillier led the Kawasaki charge with a storming fourth place in race one followed by a fighting sixth in race two on his Quattro Plant Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. The 28 year old joined other Kawasaki mounted riders using the Ninja ZX-10R in both the Superstock and Senior TT races.
Highlight of the Superstock race for Kawasaki devotees was the heroic challenge by Gary Johnson on his privately entered Lincs Lifting Ninja. Pushing eventual winner Michael Dunlop across the entire race, Johnson had to give best on the final lap after briefly leading and showing his class by relegating 20 time TT winner, John McGuinness to third. So close to the podium, RC Express Racing with MSS Performance rider, Dean Harrison was a plucky fourth with the ever-present Hillier in sixth.
For the two sidecar races, the prospect of Manx legend, Dave Molyneux adding to his podium tally was tempting indeed. After a troubled practice session interrupted by poor weather, the 50 year old multiple TT winner and passenger, Patrick Farrance, had no real idea of their prospects of success – especially with their adoption of a controversial new 10inch sidecar wheel.
Hard graft in race one saw Molyneux and Farrance peg back an early deficit to stake a claim on the final spot of the podium, just losing second spot by just half a second. With knowledge amassed from actual race conditions - plus some time on a local rolling road - Molyneux did one better in the second sidecar race taking a fine second spot reinforcing his reputation as the most successful sidecar competitor in the history of the TT.
For the Superbike and Senior races, the best prospect for Kawasaki success rested on Hillier’s shoulders and, relaxed as ever, the Ringwood based rider assumed his premier place on the grid with the hugely talented field amassed behind him on the Glencrutchery Road ready to snap at his heels. Posting a 126mph average time across the course of the Superbike race, Hillier was well inside the top ten as Michael Dunlop crossed the line as winner after six laps and eventually placed seventh with the prospect of a hard fought Senior race to come.
Last event of the week – and delayed by a red flag incident, the Senior TT was the final chance for competitors to bid for a much coveted Bronze or Silver TT replica and sight of the elusive podium places. Already a TT winner that morning, Hillier once more delivered the goods and came within a whisker of a second podium visit with a stunning series of laps in the company of eventual winner, John McGuinness. Glued to the back wheel of the Morecombe based rider, Hillier held third for much of the race only ceding his place to Bruce Anstey thanks to the Kiwi’s better run down the final miles of the mountain decent. Losing out by the merest fraction of a second, Hillier (who became sixth fastest ever around the TT course with a race lap of 131.386mph) was top Kawasaki finisher in fourth with the remarkable Dean Harrison in eighth and David Johnson on the PR Racing Kawasaki in tenth spot.“It’s been a great week’s racing and hardly seems like a year since we were last here”
, commented racing Coordinator for Kawasaki Motors UK, Ross Burridge. “The TT is such a special event and is so loyally followed by riders and fans. Kawasaki would like to congratulate James Hillier on his win and to thank all Kawasaki riders and teams that competed so courageously. Of course, without the professionalism of the TT organisers none of this would be possible, so our final thanks go to Paul Phillips and his team along with the many spectators from across the world that migrate annually to this historic event.”
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