British Superbikes: Hickman battles on at Oulton Park

Peter Hickman EMN-160305-090024002
Peter Hickman EMN-160305-090024002

Peter Hickman scored a brace of 12th places in round two of the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship at Oulton Park in torrid conditions on Monday.

The Louth-based rider never got the chance to get a feel for the bike in the inclement conditions, with snow, hail, rain and strong winds, and this reflected in his lap times during free practice.

The second session was run in the wet and as Hicky was on a fast lap and set to take pole, he encountered a technical problem stop at Druids and was forced to sit out the rest of the session.

A new engine was fitted prior to the final test session and Hicky took it steadily, making sure the engine was run in before posting two fast laps to end the session in 16th.

Going into the three-stage qualifying session on Sunday afternoon, Hicky made it through to stage two where he finished in 14th place which was not quite fast enough to take part in the chase for pole.

Disappointed with his fifth row starting slot, Hickman still felt confident of two good races on Sunday, but a heavy rain shower before the start on Monday made tyre choice an issue.

Hicky made a fantastic start and was up to ninth on the first lap, but he dropped back to 13th before passing Lee Jackson on the penultimate lap to secure 12th at the flag.

The weather was still causing problems for the second race and this time Hicky didn’t get the best of starts, lying 21st on the first lap.

But he got stuck in and began to chip away, passing James Rispoli and then Tom Bridewell mid-race to move up to 14th.

One lap later he passed Luke Mossey and could see Lee Jackson some distance ahead. He pushed hard and finally caught and passed him on the last lap to cross the finish line in 12th again.

Hickman was disappointed not to be able to replicate his pace from Silverstone where he secured his second Superbikes win.

“I’ll be honest, this has been a really disappointing weekend,” he said. “On Saturday, during the dry practice we were comfortably running top six and I believe we had the pace today to have been challenging for the podium if conditions were better.

“In the wet today I just couldn’t get the laps together or get going quick enough, but then as the track dried out in that last race I was one of the quickest guys on circuit for the last few laps.

“As we proved last time out, two 12th positions is not where the team, the bike or I should be. We’ll be back at Brands though ready to make amends!”

Hicky now prepares to travel to Northern Ireland where he will race in the North West 200 races on May 14.