Louth rider Peter Hickman hits back after disqualification decision at Oulton Park

A controversial disqualification in the first race at Oulton Park ruined the weekend for Peter Hickman on Saturday, but he went on to record two top 10 results in Sunday’s two races at the ninth round of the Bennetts British Superbike championship, writes Helen Pask.

The Louth-based rider had qualified for a second row start to the 14 lap sprint race on Saturday and he got away to a good start, retaining his fourth position and remaining with the top three riders throughout the race.

He was shadowing Jason O’Halloran and close enough to make a move at Druids on the final lap. Seeing a gap Hickman made his move but O’Halloran turned in and clipped the back of his bike crashing out of the race.

Hickman was unsettled but managed to stay on board the FHO Racing BMW and was passed by Leon Haslam leaving him to recover and complete the race in fourth place.

Peter Hickman in Oulton Park action. Phopto by Dave Yeomans.

But the Race Director deemed Hickman had been the cause of the crash to O’Halloran and gave an extremely harsh and controversial penalty of disqualification, a three position penalty for the next race and two penalty points on his race licence.

Hickman said: “Of course I’m absolutely gutted that JO and McCams Yamaha didn’t finish that race, that was never my intention and never would be. I’m just glad he’s okay.

“I am, however, shocked at the race direction’s decision; don’t get me wrong they have a tough job to do but disqualification, two points on my race licence and a three place grid penalty is absolutely way over the top. We are racing, not playing tiddly winks.

“I stand by what I said on Eurosport after the race. There was a gap, he was weak in that area and I was strong, and I had a chance of a podium, so of course I had a go.

“It’s a huge shame that he tagged the back of my bike and went down, but we are racing on very small margins and sometimes it happens.

“As for the comments about showdown positions - not having a go at passing someone because they’re in the showdown - and lack of respect etc, I completely disagree.”

The second race was full of red flags and crashes resulting in a seven lap dash to the flag in which Hickman finished in 10th place.

Hickman started the final race from the fourth row and moved up from 11th on the opening lap to seventh by lap nine of 15.

He remained in seventh place through the final laps and although he was very close to Tom Sykes he was unable to make a pass and took the chequered flag for seventh place and nine championship points.

With the points accrued from the two races he has 198 points and lies second in the fight for the Riders Cup just 10 points behind Danny Buchan.

It’s a quick turn around as the next round at Donington Park is this weekend.