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Peter Hickman Snetterton

SNETTERTON POINTS SEES HICKMAN EYE SHOWDOWN PLACE

Gloucester-based Smiths Racing BMW resumed their Bennetts British Superbike Championship campaign with round six taking place at Snetterton and two strong rides by Peter Hickman saw him move up to seventh overall in the series standings and edge closer to one of the coveted top six Showdown positions.

Lincolnshire-based Hickman was in superb form aboard the Smiths Racing BMW S1000RR during the free practice sessions and posted the third quickest time overall which put him in confident mood ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon, but all hopes of a front row start disappeared when he crashed out during the final minutes. It meant he lined up for the first race in ninth spot and on the third row with team-mate James Ellison ten places further back in 19th.

Sunday saw good conditions at the Norfolk venue and the first 16-lap race saw both riders make solid starts but on the fourth lap, James ran into technical problems as the brake issues the team have been suffering from continued and he was unfortunately forced to retire.   That just left Hickman to fly the flag and having moved up to eighth he soon became embroiled in a four-rider battle for fifth. There was little to choose between the Honda pairing of Andrew Irwin and Xavi Fores, Luke Mossey and Peter but he managed to claim seventh at the chequered flag for nine points.  It moved him up to seventh overall in the standings, but he had to start the second race later in the day from 11th with team-mate Ellison also lower down the grid on the eighth row.

Ellison had a near miss at the end of the back straight on the first lap and dropped to the back of the field and although he fought through to 17th, it was another tough day for the Cumbrian.   Hickman’s race went a lot better and a good start saw him immediately gain three places and as the race wore on. he continually moved forward. When Tarran Mackenzie crashed out of fourth place on the 11th lap, he was promoted up the order to fifth which was where he crossed the line and although he still sits in seventh overall, he’s reduced the gap to sixth placed Xavi Fores to just 18 points.

Peter Hickman: “Overall, it’s been a strong weekend and after being in the top three for most of practice, it was a real shame I made a small mistake in qualifying as it cost me a second row start at least. We’re still having an issue with getting the bike stopped and we’re still running a stock engine so it was hard going in both races and although seventh in race one was a good effort, I knew I could improve upon it in race two. I was further back on the grid, but I made a good start and am really pleased to have finished fifth and also close in a little bit on Fores in sixth. Snetterton’s never been one of my best circuits but the next two rounds are Thruxton and Cadwell, places I really enjoy and go well at so I’m looking to take full advantage and claw back the deficit I currently have.”

James Ellison: “It’s been another tough weekend and we still can’t quite cure the brake issues we’ve been having all season and when we improve one area, we seem to lose in another so it’s extremely frustrating. If I brake where I would do normally, I end up missing the apex and get overtaken but if I brake early to eliminate that problem, other riders overtake me so it’s a bit of a no-win situation. It’s really disappointing as Pete is showing what can be achieved but he was running a different chassis to me this weekend which I’ll have for the next round so I’m hoping that will push me up the leaderboard and closer to where I know we should be.”

Darren Jones, Team Co-ordinator: “We had a feeling Snetterton would be a challenging weekend with the long straights hurting our stock engine so it was a shame Pete made a small mistake in Q3 as he started the races further back from where he should have been. It’s never been a favourite circuit of his, but he rode really well and had good pace in both races so to close to within 18 points of one of the Showdown positions has been pleasing and we’re confident of clawing the gap back in the next rounds. James had a really tough weekend and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment but it’s not for the lack of trying on anyone’s part. We’ve turned the bike upside down to try and improve it as much as possible but the brake problems are affecting him more than Pete so we’ll get back to the drawing board and look at what we can do to get him closer to where we know he can be.”

 

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (16 laps)

1 Scott Redding (Ducati)

2 Josh Brookes (Ducati)

3 Tarran Mackenzie (Yamaha)

4 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)

5 Andrew Irwin (Honda)

6 Xavi Fores (Honda)

7 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

DNF James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (16 laps)

1 Scott Redding (Ducati)

2 Josh Brookes (Ducati)

3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)

4 Andrew Irwin (Honda)

5 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

6 Christian Iddon (BMW)

17 James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Championship Standings (after six rounds)

1 Redding 226pts

2 Bridewell 188

3 Brookes 185

4 Mackenzie 144

5 Buchan 132

6 Fores 114

7 Hickman 96

21 Ellison 18

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