British Superbikes: Peter Hickman closes on Showdown spot

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Peter Hickman moved within a point of the top-six end-of-season showdown places after a brace of fifth places at his home track on Sunday.

The Louth racer’s 22-point haul lifted him into seventh in the rider standings, just one point behind Andrew Irwin in the final Showdown position, as round eight of the British Superbike Championship visited Cadwell Park.

Hickman had a few niggles with the Smiths Racing BMW during free practice and was thwarted in qualifying.

On his flying lap in the second stage of qualifying he came across a slower rider at the bottom of the mountain and had to slow.

He ended the session in 11th place, and instead of the front row start he was chasing, had to be content with a fourth-row grid position for the first race.

Hickman made a swift start, moving through to eighth on the first lap, and made further progress through to fifth on lap six before being passed by Scott Redding.

But on the penultimate lap Christian Iddon made a mistake and Hickman took advantage to secure fifth place at the chequered flag.

Starting race two from the second row, Hickman was fourth on the opening lap, but was then overtaken by Iddon.

He was closing in on Iddon in the second half of the race, but couldn’t make a pass and remained in fifth place to the flag.

“I’m happy enough with how the weekend has gone, especially from where we were at the beginning when we were having a few issues,” Hickman said.

“It took us a long time to get to the bottom of everything and the boys were up all of Saturday night changing to a third engine, but it ultimately paid dividends as that was what allowed us to be where we were on race day.

“It was difficult coming from so far back on the grid in race one, but I put in a few overtaking manoeuvres and a couple of riders dropped out, so fifth was a good result, especially as it put me in a better position for race two.

“There, I got away well and just sat behind Christian, but while I was stronger in some areas, he was stronger than me in others.”

He added: “I was in two minds what to do in terms of trying a pass, but I didn’t want to risk a crash and losing any points so settled for fifth.

“We’ve had a good haul of points this weekend and have gained a lot of ground on our rivals so with three races at the next round, we’ll be looking to clinch that top-six place.”

With three races at Oulton Park in the next round and 75 points up for grabs, Hickman is in a strong position to secure a place in the end-of-season title Showdown.