Showdown for Hicky

The latest local sports news.
The latest local sports news.

Peter Hickman battled against the weather to clinch a place in the British Superbikes end-of-season showdown at Silverstone over the weekend.

He finished in eighth and ninth place in the first two races before suffering a crash in the final affair.

The weather affected free practice and qualifying, with Friday’s two sessions being on a wet track.

In Saturday’s final free practice the track was drying and this reflected in Hickman’s lap times.

He completed the session in third place and was eager for more of the same in the three stage qualifying laps.

He sailed through to the final stage and was to start the first of three races from the head of the third row.

However, a heavy rain shower just prior to the first affair left the 3.67-mile track very wet in places but completely dry in others, making tyre choice difficult.

Hickman had gone for a slick on the rear but, after the sighting lap, he had a change of heart and returned to the pits for a change to a full wet.

This resulted in him having to start the race from pit lane instead of taking up his position on the grid and left him with a huge task to catch and pass the back markers.

But Hickman got his head down and on lap two he overtook nine of the stragglers and continued to pick off riders two a lap until he reached 10th place on lap seven.

He moved up to ninth on lap 10 and when Byrne crashed on the final lap he moved into eighth place.

But he was forced back to ninth when Jakub Smrz made a pass on the way to the chequered flag, leaving Louth rider Hicky to finish ninth and pick up seven championship points to retain his third place in the standings.

Starting race two on Sunday, Hickman started from the sixth row and began to make progress towards the front of the field.

He was running in eighth place and poised to make an overtaking move on Christian Iddon when the course car was deployed following an accident downfield.

With the car still on the track at lap 10 the red flag was implemented because of a machine problem to another rider and a result declared on positions at lap eight, which was the last active lap prior to the pace car deployment.

This resulted in Hicky being awarded eighth place, which seals his place in the end-of-season Showdown.

The last race was a fiasco with rain falling and very poor visibility.

Hickman set off very gingerly from a second row grid position and settled into fourth place.

But with riders falling like skittles in the dire conditions he was elevated up to second.

On lap four Dan Linfoot passed him and on lap six he slid from his machine at Luffield, his race over.

Sixteen of the 23 riders crashed during the race which was eventually red flagged at two thirds distance with just seven remaining upright.

“It’s certainly been a challenging weekend, but I’m naturally over the moon to have made it through to the Showdown for the first time,” Hickman said.

“I’ve come close before so to finally do it is great, not just for myself but also the team.

“It was hard work and I crashed out of the third race but it’s my first crash anywhere this year, so to get to September without falling off is no mean feat so now we’ll get ready for the Showdown and give it our best shot.”

It’s a quick turnaround for the team with the next round this weekend at Oulton Park, from Friday to Sunday.