Motorcycling: More Macau GP magic for Louth ace Hickman

Hickman climbs the top step of the Macau Grand Prix podium for the second year running EMN-161121-095448002
Hickman climbs the top step of the Macau Grand Prix podium for the second year running EMN-161121-095448002

After a tight and exciting race, Louth racer Peter Hickman toasted victory in the high-profile Macau GP for the second year running.

He was followed home at the 50th running of the annual event by his SMT/Bathams BMW team-mate Michael Rutter, with Martin Jessopp in third.

Hickman had never ridden the bike until a few days before the race EMN-161121-095459002

Hickman had never ridden the bike until a few days before the race EMN-161121-095459002

After his 2016 Kawasaki team withdrew, Hicky secured a ride with the SMT/Bathams BMW for Macau and quickly familiarised himself with the bike despite not seeing it until last Thursday.

Going into qualifying he was still settling into the BMW, but was confident he could produce a strong result, and qualified in seventh for the 12-lap road race.

As the lights went out, Hickman gmade an amazing start and settled into fourth place on the opening lap and as the race unfolded he stayed in touch with the three leading riders.

The four pulled away from the pursuing pack, and on lap four Hicky made it through to third, after overtaking Glenn Irwin, and began to reel in Rutter and Jessopp who were a couple of seconds ahead.

Hickman with this team EMN-161121-095510002

Hickman with this team EMN-161121-095510002

On lap 11 both he and Rutter took race leader Jessopp, and as they headed towards the line for the start of the final lap Hicky made his move and hit the front.

He pulled out a small gap, but knew it would all come down to who was better on the brakes.

But the Lincolnshire ace held his cool and crossed the finish line 0.533s ahead of his team-mate, with Jessopp close behind.

“I knew we were going to be strong from mid-race onwards, but starting seventh on the grid definitely wasn’t ideal,” Hickman said.

“Every practice start I had done was pretty rubbish, but I did a good one when it counted and got away in fourth so was quite happy.

“I sat behind Glenn for a while and was hoping the leaders would start coming back to me in the middle of the race, but they didn’t come back as far as I expected so I really had to dig in.

“It was one of the hardest races I have ever taken part in as all three of them kept me honest. It was really hard to pass Glenn as he was riding so well on his first time here.

“I want to say a massive thanks to SMT and Bathams as they have done a mega job bringing all three of us here.

“To run a team like that is really difficult; I had never even seen the bike until Thursday morning which was really hard.

“The last time I rode a BMW was a year ago when I won here so it was a steep learning curve, but we managed to do it.

“I am over the moon to win this race again and have to thank all my team, friends, family, sponsors and supporters for their faith in me.

“I am eternally grateful for their help, support, expertise and confidence. I literally have the best team around me anyone could ask for.”

Hickman now returns home to continue his quest of securing a ride for 2017 in the British Superbike championship and on the roads.