Louth motorcycle ace Peter Hickman has capped a superb season with victory in the Macau Grand Prix - at only the second attempt.
Just days after confirming a switch to GPmoto Racing team for next season (see page 86), Hickman eased to victory in the 49th annual race with a six-second advantage over runner-up Martin Jessopp.
Hicky took time to refresh his memory of the track layout during free practice and the first qualifying session before scorching his way around the 3.8-mile road circuit to secure a third place start for Saturday’s race.
As the lights went out he slotted into second place behind Martin Jessopp and the pair immediately pulled clear.
Jessopp had a good lead, but Hicky began to make in-roads and was right with the leader by half-race distance on lap six.
He followed him for two laps before making his move and taking the lead.
With a clear track ahead, the Louth rider gradually increased his lead and crossed the finish line a full six seconds ahead of Jessopp to give his team a fairytale win at the end of a very successful year.
He said: “It feels absolutely fantastic. This is only the second time I have been to Macau.
“I’ve not been doing the road racing scene for very long, but my British Superbike championships have been pretty strong the last couple of years. It’s fantastic to be able to transfer between the two.
“We all knew from the qualifying and practices that Martin [Jessopp] was really strong, and the pace that he had compared to everyone else seemed too much to be quite honest.
“I was on the Dunlop tyres and Jessopp and Rutter were on different, so we knew we were going to be strong for the second half of the race.
“I figured that Martin was going to pull away in the first five or six laps and then hopefully we’d come back to him.
“I thought I just need to be clean, don’t make any mistakes and just be as fast as I can. As soon as I had a chance, I was close enough at Lisboa and I passed him straight away. Fortunately the plan worked.
“I would like to thank my team as all their hard work has paid off. Briggs Equipment UK for their support and the RAF Reserves team for putting such a fantastic bike under me.
“Also my thanks to Lee Hardy who has believed in me this past 18 months. I now move on to my new team for next season, but it’s great that I have given Lee a win to end my time with him and the team.”
Hicky headed straight to Spain for testing with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team before returning home to Louth for Christmas.