Hickman Shines at Opening BSB Round
RAF Reserves BMW team based at RAF Marham in Norfolk got their 2015 British Superbike (BSB) Championship season up and running in superb style over the Easter weekend with the Lincolnshire-based rider Peter Hickman scoring a brace of top five finishes at Donington Park.
Despite limited test time, 27-year old Hickman got quicker and quicker as the weekend progressed, brilliantly putting himself into the final qualifying session to give himself a great opportunity for Monday’s opening race. With a time of 1m30.322s, Peter took an excellent seventh place to claim a third row start on the RAF Reserves BMW ahead of a number of factory teams and Championship favourites.
Easter Monday saw bright blue skies and pleasant sunshine at the Leicestershire venue and a good start to the first 20-lap race saw Peter moved into the top six at the completion of the first lap and here he remained throughout. Locked in battle with four other riders for the final podium position, Peter had moved up to fourth at three quarters race distance and although Josh Brookes pushed him back to fifth, it was a brilliant start to the year.
Starting from the advanced position of fifth for the second race later in the day, Peter performed even better particularly as he had to fight his way up from the bottom end of the top ten. Pushed wide at the first corner, he dropped back to ninth but regrouped quickly and was up to fourth by mid-race distance. The front three riders had made a break but for the remainder of the race, Peter consistently closed the gap and although he finished fourth, he only missed out on a podium position by 0.8s.
Peter Hickman: “To be honest, I’m not quite sure how we’ve finished in the top five this weekend as Saturday was the first full day I’d had on the bike with the whole team here and I never expected to be in the top ten never mind the top six! We’ve been trying so much in terms of set-up and the opening race was the 40th electronic map we’d put in whilst we were continually playing with the suspension and the like.”
“Aside from the gearbox, the bike’s completely stock so we know there’s plenty more to come and I’m confident we can make further strides forward next time out. The bike’s absolutely brilliant and I can’t thank the team enough. It was a shame I got bullied a bit at the beginning of the second race whilst I also ran out of fuel on the final lap otherwise I think I could’ve run with the top three for the entire race. We’ve probably surprised ourselves to be so high up on the results sheets this weekend but it’s been a mega first round and I’m so, so pleased.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “It’s been an amazing weekend for us and although we knew Peter would be strong at this circuit; with such limited time on the bike we’d have been happy with the top 15 and some points. We never expected fourth and fifth place finishes at all and although it’s early days, to be lying in fifth overall is no mean feat for a team operating on the budget that we do.” “It means a lot to me on a personal level and with a new bike and manufacturer this year, it’s nice to show them what we’re capable of. We know there’s a lot of work to be done still but we know what changes we need to make and although they’re little changes, they’re changes which will allow us to get the bike to where we want it to be. It’s been a superb first round and we’ll hopefully do the same next time out!” The second round of the series will be held at Brands Hatch, Kent on the weekend of April 17th to 18th.
MCE BSB CHAMPIONSHIP RACE ONE (20 LAPS)
1. James Ellison (Kawasaki)
2. Shane Byrne (Kawasaki)
3. Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
4. Dan Linfoot (Honda)
5. Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves BMW)
6. Tommy Bridewell (BMW)
MCE BSB CHAMPIONSHIP RACE TWO (20 LAPS)
1. Shane Byrne (Kawasaki)
2. Dan Linfoot (Honda)
3. Stuart Easton (Kawasaki)
4. Peter Hickman (RAF Reserves BMW)
5. Christian Iddon (Suzuki)
6. Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (AFTER ONE ROUND)
1. Byrne 45pts
2. Linfoot 33pts
3. Ellison 29pts
4. Brookes 26pts
5. Hickman 24pts
6. Easton 21pts