Hickman confident for a good Isle of Man TT after getting to grips with new bikes at the NW200

Peter Hickman on the Smiths/Trooper Supersport bike. Photo: Baylon McCaughey.
Peter Hickman on the Smiths/Trooper Supersport bike. Photo: Baylon McCaughey.

Peter Hickman recorded five strong finishes at the annual International North West 200 events.

On Thursday and Saturday he was riding around the 8.9-mile triangular public road circuit which links the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush.

Qualifying took place in glorious sunshine on Tuesday and Thursday and placed the 30-year-old Lincolnshire ace sixth on the Smiths BMW S1000RR in the Superbike class, 11th in the Superstock and seventh in the Supersport on the Trooper/Smiths Triumph.

Racing got underway on Thursday evening and Hicky was out in the first six-lap Supersport race on the Triumph.

But things didnt quite go according to plan and he completed the race in 11th place.

Next up was the Superstock event over six laps, but Hicky hit a false neutral near to the end of the first lap when lying in a strong fourth place and was forced to run on.

He explained: “I got my foot stuck under the gear lever on the run to the start and finish straight and had to run on into the pits on neutral.

“The Supersport bike just wasn’t running as I wanted it so I wasn’t able to push on as well as I had hoped.

“But I am sure we will have the bike right for Saturday.”

But come Saturday the weather had taken a turn for the worse and the Supersport race took place in damp conditions.

As the race unfolded, the rain began to fall once again but Hicky rode well and brought the bike home safely in a strong eighth place.

Proceedings came to a halt when more rain fell, plus an oil spillage which led to a lengthy delay with the opening superbike race finally getting underway at 3pm, and reduced to four laps distance.

Hickman completed the first lap in fifth place and was embroiled in a battle for fourth place with Glenn Irwin, who held his ground leaving Hicky to finish the race in fifth place.

In the Superstock race, Hickman was involved in a five-way battle at the front of the field, but the rain returned and the race was red flagged at the end of the fifth lap, with the result taken from positions at four laps distance giving Hicky fifth place.

The times were very close and he was only just over a second away from Alastair Seeley, who won the race.

In the final race of the day, the seven-lap superbike race, Hickman was running in a strong sixth on the first lap.

He held onto the back of the top five riders until, with two laps remaining, he began to run low on fuel.

He began to drop back as he tried to conserve his fuel and eventually crossed the finish line in eighth place.

Hicky commented: “It’s been a bit of a tough meeting to be fair but, although the results haven’t been quite what either myself or the team wanted, we haven’t been a million miles away.

“I hadn’t sat on any of the bikes before I got here and we encountered a few teething issues, primarily with the electronics on the big bike and I couldn’t get the feel I was looking for with the throttle connection.

“The set-up is very different to my BSB bike and, whilst top end speed and braking was good, I was losing time coming out of the corners.

“I was there or thereabouts on the big bike but just didn’t quite have the feel to allow me to go with the leading group but we’ve learnt a lot and know where we need to improve and with a test planned at Mallory Park next week, I’m confident we’ll be in good shape by the time we get to the TT.”