Louth racer Peter Hickman in good shape for TT

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

Louth racer Peter Hickman recorded five strong finishes at the annual International North West 200 events last week.

On Thursday and Saturday he took on the 8.9-mile public road circuit which links the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush.

Qualifying took place 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 under way on Thursday evening and Hicky was out in the first six-lap Supersport race on the Triumph.

Things didn’t quite go according to plan and he completed the race in 11th place.

Next up was the Superstock 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.”

The weather worsened on Saturday as the Supersport race started in damp conditions.

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

Proceedings were halted when more rain fell, while an oil spill then led to a lengthy delay, with the opening superbike race finally starting at 3pm, and reduced to four lap.

Hickman became embroiled in a battle for fourth place with Glenn Irwin who held his ground, leaving Hicky to finish fifth.

In the Superstock race, Hickman was involved in a five-way battle at the front, but as the rain returned, the race was red flagged after five laps, with the result taken from positions at four laps distance, giving Hicky fifth, just over a second behind winner Alastair Seeley.

In the final race, 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 left, he began to run low on fuel and dropped back as he tried to conserve fuel, crossing the finish line in eighth.

Hickman said: “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, while 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.

“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.”