North West 200 glory for Louth racer Peter Hickman

Hickman celebrates his maiden win at the North West 200 as he warms up for the Isle of Man TT EMN-180521-090012002
Hickman celebrates his maiden win at the North West 200 as he warms up for the Isle of Man TT EMN-180521-090012002

Racing start Peter Hickman rode to his first win and a close second place at the prestigious North West 200 in Northern Ireland last week.

The Louth rider got the top results in the two Superstock races at the international road race, but was disappointed to retire from the two Superbike races while in contention for a podium on each.

Hickman recorded his first win at the North West 200 races on Thursday when he powered his Smith’s Racing BMW to victory in the first Superstock race after an exciting six-lap battle with Alastair Seeley.

On the final lap it looked as though Seeley would take the win, but the determined Lincolnshire rider dived past on the brakes going into the Juniper chicane and made his move stick before the dash to the line.

A breathless Peter Hickman said: “Finally something went right for me; this year has been so tough for me so far. I am so happy not only for myself, but also for the Smith’s Racing BMW team who have put so much effort, time, money and resources into me, not only in the British Superbike Championship but here as well.

“I knew I was close and also fast, Alastair is normally strong on the Coast Road, but for some reason I was a lot faster than him; also I knew on the last corner on the run into Juniper it was the only place to pass him.

“If I did it on the run to Metropole he would have got past me again so I just waited and passed him at the place I knew he would be unable to pass me again.

“I actually made a clean move on him, but he let the brakes off and I thought there is no way I was letting him have that so I just did the same and thought, if I have to go over the gravel then I will; I wasn’t going to get that far and then not win the race!”

On Saturday, Hickman again started well and moved ahead on lap two, but then ran wide and lost ground to third.

He was back up to second on lap three and exchanged the lead with Seeley through the rest of the race. He held the lead as they began the final lap, but Seeley slipstreamed back into the lead just before the final chicane.

Things didn’t go well for Hickman in either of Saturday’s two Superbike races.

He was forced to retire on lap six of seven with a rear tyre issue in race one, before a stone went through the fairing and into his radiator pipe to end his second race.

“In both Superbike races, I made really good starts, but had a few issues with the dash in the first race and then a problem with the rear tyre that forced me out,” said Hickman.

“Then in the second, a stone got flicked up and it went through the fairing and then through the radiator pipe which was incredibly unlucky.

“But overall it’s been a solid enough meeting ahead of the (Isle of Man) TT.”