Hickman heroics at Assen
Monday 01 October 2018
TT lap record holder Peter Hickman was on top form at Assen in the Netherlands where he was competing in the penultimate round of the 2018 British Superbike championship. He came home with a fourth and third place in the two races plus set a new lap record in race one 1m 36.435s - which gave him the advantage of starting race two from pole position.
Starting the first race from the fourth row Hickman got a fantastic start and ploughed through the midfielders to take up fourth place on the first lap. One lap later and he dived under Leon Haslam to move up into third position although on lap five Haslam got his own back demoting Hickman back to fourth where he remained until lap 16 of 18 when he passed Jake Dixon. But his progress was short lived as he made a mistake which let Dixon back through. Hickman remained in touch and crossed the finish line in fourth place just 0.38s away from the final podium position of third.
He said: “Smiths Racing have worked so hard to get the issues we had with the bike fixed. They have done a mega job and I’m so happy with how the she feels. A new lap record shows that! I had a great start and showed we really have the pace to win here. A small mistake from me at the end meant we just missed out on the podium. It was great to be back where we should be and I’m looking forward to race two.”
Starting race two from pole position Hickman shot off the line to establish a good lead but, following a crash behind him, the course car halted his progress as the riders bunched up while the track was cleared and the injured riders removed to the medical centre.
Once the car left the track the race was back on and Hickman continued to hold the lead though the first 10 laps. But he was overhauled by fellow TT star Josh Brookes on lap 11 and then by Leon Haslam two laps later. Although he maintained third place he was unable to make a move on either of the other two riders ahead and crossed the finish line for a strong third place and 16 championship points.
Hickman said: “We have been fast all weekend and seem to have sorted out all the gremlins we had, we have spent a lot of time on the dyno plus done a test at Cadwell which seems to have ironed things out. I did my usual in qualifying but my race pace is always strong and we felt we could use the soft tyre for the entire 18 laps which we did in race one with no problem at all. In race two it was a little too soft and I spun the tyre on the rim so rode the last six laps or so with the bike chattering as the rear wheel was out of balance. Smiths Racing have done a fantastic job getting the bike sorted and I am really happy to be in the hunt for third place in the championship and we have done ourselves a world of good this weekend.”
This solid set of results move Hickman up into fifth place in the rider standings on 549 points which is just five points away from Glenn Irwin in fourth and eight points away from Josh Brookes who holds third place.
The final round of the championship is at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time when Hickman will have three races to try to gain ground on the riders ahead and secure that elusive third place in the 2018 British Superbike championship.
Thanks to Dave Yeomans for the picture