British Superbikes: Hickman hails team for top-six season

Louth motorcycle racer Peter Hickman completed the British Superbike Championship campaign in sixth place after the season finale at Brands Hatch.

Peter Hickman completed another consistent year on the track EMN-191021-094929002
Peter Hickman completed another consistent year on the track EMN-191021-094929002

Despite his best efforts, he was unable to improve his position after earning three top-eight finishes in the final round in Kent.

“We had one month to build a race bike,” Hickman reflected.

“No testing; just an incredible group of people willing to work hard and be consistent.

“We end the season sixth in the championship and the top BMW team for the third consecutive year.”

Qualifying went well for Hickman who sailed through to the final session and finished in fifth place for a second-row start to the first of three races.

Hickman got away well and was running in sixth when the race was red-flagged for a three-rider crash.

After a lengthy delay while the track was cleared of oil the race re-started over a reduced 12-lap distance, and he once again settled into sixth place.

He was passed by soon-to-be champion Scott Redding and spent the remainder of the race circulating in seventh place.

Starting race two from the third row, Hickman remained in ninth through the first seven laps before passing Andrew Irwin for eighth.

Two laps later he overtook Jason O’Halloran and continued in seventh place until O’Halloran re-took his position with three laps remaining.

Hickman then held eighth place to the chequered flag.

Placed on the third row for the final race of the season, Hickman began his move forward and passed Irwin on lap three for eighth position.

On lap seven he passed Danny Buchan and, on lap 13, he overtook O’Halloran to move into sixth place.

But all three riders were running as one and Buchan demoted him to seventh at three-quarters distance.

Hickman then passed Tarran Mackenzie on the penultimate lap and on the final lap he passed Buchan once again to finish in fifth place.

With these three strong results Hickman ends his season in sixth place on 547 points.

Hickman added: “It’s been a tough weekend with little dry track time in practice and even in qualifying it was still a bit sketchy, but I was more than happy to take fifth.

“For race one, we made a couple more changes to the bike, and while we’re still improving all the time, I was lacking that last little bit to go with the group battling for fourth.

“The whole weekend was like that and we were changing things on the bike all the time, so each race felt different, but all the steps we made were positive ones.

“The third race was the best in terms of maintaining a consistent pace throughout and the team has worked really well all year, particularly at the beginning when the bike was literally brand new.”

The next race for Hickman will be the Macau GP where he will be defending his title on November 16.