A roller coaster weekend at Silverstone for Peter Hickman sees him secure the final showdown position of the 2018 season
Peter Hickman secured the final showdown place of 2018 after another strong performance at Silverstone in round 9 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship last weekend (07-09 Sep.).
The build up to the seasons final race, before the showdown series that’ll leave six riders to battle it out for the championship over the next three weeks, set the tone for a dramatic and nail biting weekend. Hickman went into round 9 with just a seven points advantage over Danny Buchan, who sat only just outside the top six riders in seventh position.
Qualifying was complicated by dreary weather conditions as rain during Q1 disrupted performances on the track. A thrilling final 3 minutes in Q1 saw Hickman jump almost the entire field as a 0.5 fastest lap in the closing minutes saw him leapfrog from P22 into P1. As the rain cleared and conditions dried up, the form of some of the championships strongest riders began to shine and Hickman slipped back in to a 5th row start for race one.
An eighth place finish in race one on Saturday picked up 8 championship points for the Lincoln-born rider. But a strong start in race two on Sunday from the 4th row was disrupted by a broken oil sensor switch that forced Hickman to withdraw with just three laps remaining of the race.
The final race carried huge pressure for Hickman as he held on to sixth position in the championship. An untimely temperature sensor issue on his Smiths Racing BMW resulted in a pit lane start to race three and meant he was at a half-lap disadvantage to the field when he joined the track. A fall from Kawasaki rider Luke Mossey left the race red flagged and by the time Hickman joined the grid for the restart his Smith’s Racing had managed to correct the issues with his bike. A strong restart to race three saw Hickman make his way up to as high as seventh position, but another technical fault, this time a broken gear leaver, meant his bike was stuck in third gear for the remaining five laps and he fell down the field to finish in a frustrating 19th position.
Fortunately Hickman’s showdown rivals also suffered problems over the weekend at Silverstone, leaving him in overall sixth position in the championship and thereby qualifying for the showdown finale. Just 4 points separated him from seventh position rider, Danny Buchan, who recorded two 12th place finishes on Sunday.
Peter Hickman: “What a weekend. What a show for the fans. It’s weird to say, but we were both lucky and unlucky at the same time. However, we’ve done it. I want to thank Smiths Racing for giving me a fantastic bike and for all the tremendous work this incredible team does. We are the only BMW team in the showdown and this is our second showdown in two years. All of the sponsors and the fans have been fantastic and supported us through the highs and lows of our season. We’re a really busy, small team and this year has really shown the determination and talent of everyone that gets me and ‘Eileen’ on the grid each weekend. Now, we have to get our heads down and push forward to deliver strong results in these final rounds.”
LEW sponsored PBM Racing also enjoyed success at Silverstone over the weekend as PBM Be Wiser Duccati rider, Glenn Irwin, secured his showdown position in 5th place for the championship. A strong performance over the weekend saw Irwin record two podium finishes, which takes him into the final three races at Oulton Park, Circuit Assen and Brands Hatch 52 points off 1st place.
The British Superbike Championship heads to Oulton Park this weekend (14-16th September) for round 10 of the season and the first of three showdown races. Hickman will go in to the weekend on 504 points with Glenn Irwin in 5th position on 516 points, Bradley Ray and Josh Brookes both tied on 519 points, Jake Dixon in second, and Leon Haslam 45 points ahead of Dixon in 1st place.”
Image Right: Peter Hickman (first on the right) lines up with Glenn Irwin(far left) as part of the six showdown riders heading into Oulton Park next week. Images provided by www.peterhickman.net.