British Superbikes: Hickman up to fifth after Brands Hatch

Peter Hickman at Brands Hatch. Photo: Dave Yeomans.
Peter Hickman at Brands Hatch. Photo: Dave Yeomans.

Peter Hickman battled through a difficult free practice and qualifying at Brands Hatch to record two top 10 finishes in round two of the MCE British Superbike Championship.

Starting the first 30-lap encounter from a sixth row grid position on Easter Monday, the Louth racer got away to a flyer on the Smiths Racing BMW and was up into 11th by the end of the first lap.

He tailed Glenn Irwin, eventually passing him on lap five and became embroiled in a battle for eighth place.

He completed the race in ninth place, but his fastest lap gave him a much better grid position for race two later in the day.

Once again he got away to a fantastic start, finding himself up in fourth on the first lap.

He was running in close company to defending champion Shane Byrne who finally overtook him on lap 11, and one lap later Byrne’s team-mate Glenn Irwin also went past, demoting Hicky to sixth place.

But Irwin crashed a few laps later, followed on the next lap by Byrne at the same spot, which gifted Hicky sixth place once again.

In the final stages Honda Racing rider Dan Linfoot made a move on the Lincolnshire rider, demoting him to seventh with three laps left and he held station until the finish line for nine championship points.

“I was nowhere all weekend, but on race day things started to come together and full credit to the team,” said the 30-year-old. “They worked so hard and the changes we made helped to move me forward.

“During qualifying, it was really tough and I had to go well out of my comfort zone to do the lap times whereas on race day I was a lot happier.

“It still wasn’t easy, but it was a lot better than it was and to say I’m pleased with the outcome would be an understatement.

“I’ve done my best-ever lap of the Indy circuit and have more points than after two rounds in 2016 so we can go away happy.”

Hickman moved up to fifth in the overall standings on 37 points with the next round at one of Hicky’s favourite circuits, Oulton Park, on May 1.