British Superbikes Louth rider grabs Silverstone podium

Peter Hickman celebrates his podium at Silverstone EMN-150510-132054002
Peter Hickman celebrates his podium at Silverstone EMN-150510-132054002

Louth rider Peter Hickman scored a fine podium finish in the penultimate round of the MCE British Superbike championship at Silverstone.

Hickman followed up his third position in race one by crossing the finish line eighth in the second encounter on Sunday.

The meeting started well for the 28-year-old when he recorded a sixth place finish in Friday’s opening free practice session before shaving a further second off his lap times in the afternoon.

Another four tenths of a second were gained on Saturday morning and despite still getting used to the new BMW engine, used for the first time at Assen two weeks ago, hopes were high going into qualifying.

With good, dry conditions all around the Northamptonshire circuit, Hicky comfortably made it through to the final stages of qualifying, going consistently quicker to quality seventh with a lap of 2min 04.857secs.

Hicky made a good start to race one and after two laps was up with the leaders, running comfortably in fourth place.

With tyre choice crucial, it looked at mid-race distance if the team had opted for the wrong decision as the Louth racer dropped back to fifth and lost ground.

But as the race wore on he closed the gap to the leaders and on the penultimate lap overhauled James Ellison for third place which he held with ease to the chequered flag.

The drama wasn’t over though as Hickman’s bike caught fire on the slowing down lap, but it was soon extinguished and he duly took his place on the front row for the second 14-lap race.

All looked well in the early stages with Hicky running in the top four, but by lap three he had dropped back to eighth, and with the leading group already edging away, hopes of a repeat result evaporated.

But Hicky rode solidly throughout and he held the position for eight more points.

The results left him in 10th overall in the championship, but moved within 19 points of seventh-placed Richard Cooper in the battle for the BSB Rider’s Cup. A total of 75 points are available at the final round.

Hickman said: “The bike’s been fantastic all weekend and although it’s taken me a bit longer than I would have liked to get used to the new BMW engine, I’m really happy now.

“Tyre life was a key issue today, but in the first race I ran my own pace throughout and didn’t panic when the front group began to pull away.

“I let them go in the hope they’d come back to me in the latter stages and that’s exactly what happened. To get another podium was brilliant.”

He added: “Unfortunately I struggled from the start of race two and knew the grip wasn’t there and I just went backwards.

“All in all though, it’s been a strong day for me and the team, and we’re still well in contention for the Rider’s Cup which is what we’re firmly aiming for.”

Kent circuit Brands Hatch hosts the final round on October 18, but before that Hicky returns to action at Darley Moor this weekend for the annual Stars at Darley meeting.