British Superbikes: Louth ace Peter Hickman toils at Knockhill

Hickman was unsettled by an earlier oil spill which delayed proceedings at Knockhill EMN-170619-150631002
Hickman was unsettled by an earlier oil spill which delayed proceedings at Knockhill EMN-170619-150631002

Peter Hickman had a tough return to the track at Knockhill last weekend fresh from his heroics at the Isle of Man TT.

After five podium finishes at the TT, the Louth racer had to settle for two top 10 finishes on Sunday on the Smiths Racing BMW in round four of the MCE British championship.

Hicky was running within the top five throughout free practice and was looking towards a front row start, but an oil spill by a competitor in another solo class caused a two-hour delay and a reduced half-an-hour qualifying session.

As well as having to adjust to a short circuit after the fast 37.73-mile TT course, Hicky was unsure of conditions and erred on the side of caution to complete his qualifying in 12th for the first race.

He said: “I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that there had been a large amount of oil on the track and it put me off going for a really fast lap.”

As race one got under way, Hicky moved through the field and was circulating in sixth for most of the 30 laps.

Bradley Ray demoted him to seventh mid-race, but a few laps later he crashed out, gifting sixth place back to the Lincolnshire rider.

Starting race two from the third row again Hicky quickly moved up into ninth, but couldn’t make further progress and took the chequered flag in that position.

“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend,” he said. “Having been strong all weekend, it all went a bit awry in qualifying when the oil laid on the track messed my head up.

“I just couldn’t ride the way I wanted and that made both races difficult as being so far back on the grid at a short circuit like Knockhill is near impossible to come back from.

“It’s not easy to overtake, but I kept chipping away and while sixth and ninth isn’t where I want to be finishing, I’m only four points adrift of the top six so we’ll keep fighting hard and look to come out fighting next time out.”

With the 17 points picked up from Knockhill, Hickman now sits seventh in the rider standings on 74 points.

The next round is at Snetterton from June 30 to July 2.