Louth’s Peter Hickman confirmed as world’s best with Macau Grand Prix hat-trick

Peter Hickman celebrates winning the 2018 Macau Grand Prix for the third time in four years.'PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON EMN-181119-110436002
Peter Hickman celebrates winning the 2018 Macau Grand Prix for the third time in four years.'PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON EMN-181119-110436002

Louth rider Peter Hickman recorded his third Macau GP win on Saturday after the race was red-flagged with three laps left.

Completing the Macau hat-trick capped a stunning year for Hickman who has won all of the major road races this year.

He also became the fastest road racer in the world in the summer when he recorded a 135.452mph lap around the Isle of Man TT course on the final lap of the Senior TT as he swept to victory.

“It is fantastic for myself, the Smiths Racing crew, (I had my usual team around me) and Aspire-Ho Bathams who are the sponsors for the team,” Hickman said.

“To give them a win here is absolutely brilliant.”

Hickman had been dominant throughout qualifying and turned his overnight provisional pole into the real thing with a series of convincing laps which left him a second clear of team-mate Michael Rutter.

As the lights went out it was Rutter who led the riders around the first few laps before Hickman decided it was time for him to press on aboard the Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing Smiths BMW.

The Lincolnshire rider took the lead on lap three of 12 and the pair soon began to pull clear of the pursuing pack.

Hickman had just over a second lead from Rutter with Martin Jessopp, Danny Webb and Gary Johnson following some five seconds behind.

On lap nine, Hickman was on a roll and pulling well clear when the race was red-flagged for a crash involving Lincolnshire rider Phil Crowe and Ben Whylie.

Because the race had gone over the required two-thirds distance, a result was declared on positions at eight-lap distance, with Hickman declared the winner from Rutter and Jessopp.

“Michael got a much better start than me which is usual as he is always good off the line,” Hickman added.

“I was quite happy to just sit there and follow him and watch where he was strong and where he wasn’t.

“I could hear the Ducati behind me so realised Martin was fairly close so after the third lap I decided it was time to go and got my head down, passed Michael and began to pull a bit of a gap.

“After half-distance he began to gain ground on me and was only 0.7secs behind so thought I had better get my head down again and pull the gap back out again.

“I looked at the TV screen at Lisboa and saw that I had pulled away again, but unfortunately the red flag came out.

“I really hope the boys involved are okay, which is the main thing to be honest.”

Hickman will now head home to finalise his plans for the 2019 season.