The Supertwin class has been revamped for 2022, with machinery up to 700cc allowed to compete in a bid to increase the competitiveness of the class.
However, a two-rider race emerged from the off as Dunlop and Hickman did battle on their Patons – the latter claiming victory after Dunlop slowed up on the final of three lapses heading into the Glen Helen section.
KTS Racing’s Jamie Coward started at number one on the road on his 650 Kawasaki, but it was Dunlop on his MD Racing Paton who led on corrected time through the first sector split at Glen Helen.
Dunlop’s gap stood at eight tenths over Hickman on his own PHR-run Paton, though that gap had switched by Ballaugh to Hickman leading by 0.8s.
As they came into the pits at the end of lap one, Dunlop led by six tenths, but Hickman gained a tenth in his fuel stop over Dunlop – with that advantage swelling to eight tenths at Glen Helen on lap two.
Dunlop snatched the lead back by 0.042s at Ballaugh, and again grew that to 0.8s into Ramsey, with Hickman gaining four tenths back through to the Bungalow on the mountain section.
By the run down the mountain at Cronk-ny-Mona, Hickman had moved seven tenths clear of Dunlop and was half a second ahead as he started his final lap.
This set up a titanic battle for victory, but disaster struck Dunlop on the run to Glen Helen as he slowed up with bike trouble.
As a result, Hickman was given a massive advantage of 1m27s over Lee Johnston on his Ashcourt Racing Aprilia 660.
Hickman continued to build on that gap as he cruised to the checkered flag for his first win in the Supertwin class and his third victory of the 2022 TT.
Johnston crossed the line in second for his first podium of the meeting, 1m49s behind Hickman, as Prez Racing’s Paul Jordan tallied up his maiden TT podium in third on his Kawasaki 650.
Frenchman Pierre Yves Bian was fourth on his Paton ahead of Michael Rutter on his Paton.
The second Supersport race of the 2022 TT is due to get underway later today at 6:30pm.