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Alex Olsen Smiths Racing

FOURTH FOR HICKMAN AND POINTS FOR OLSEN AT DONINGTON

The Gloucester-based Smiths Racing BMW team enjoyed a strong weekend at Donington Park with both Peter Hickman and Alex Olsen recording points-scoring finishes at round 11 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

The weekend started with mixed conditions on Friday but qualifying on Saturday saw dry weather and both riders utilised their track time on the Smiths BMW S1000RR to their advantage with Hickman qualifying in eighth place for Sunday’s first 20-lap race and Olsen half a second further back in 17th.

The damp weather predicted for race day thankfully stayed away and the 2.5-mile Grand Prix circuit was completely dry for the opening race as Hickman moved up to sixth place at the end of the opening lap with Olsen maintaining station in 17th.   Although he briefly dropped back to seventh, Lincolnshire’s Hickman quickly regrouped and moved back up to fifth as he battled with Christian Iddon and Josh Brookes for third place and the final podium position. With just five laps to go, Iddon dropped back allowing Hickman to take a strong fourth place.   Olsen, meanwhile, moved up into the points on lap five and sat behind the Yamaha pairing of Tarran Mackenzie and Jason O’Halloran for the next few laps, he was well on course for some more championship points but in the closing stages he slipped back and was overhauled to eventually cross the line in 16th place.

Both riders had better starting positions for race two with Peter in fifth and Alex in 14th and although the safety car came out for a period in the first half of the race, once it had settled down once more, both riders were holding onto strong positions with Hickman in fifth and Olsen in 14th.   However, lap 13 proved to be unlucky for Peter as a broken chain brought his race to an abrupt end just as another strong finish looked to be on the cards but Alex had a good race-long battle and eventually took the chequered flag in 13th place for his second points-scoring finish since joining the team at round nine.

Peter Hickman: Results-wise, it’s been a bit of a mixed day but, overall, our pace has been strong throughout. We’ve made more improvements to the bike which has helped us get closer to the front group. In the first race, I made a slight mistake early on when the bike went into neutral at the Melbourne Loop, but I regained the lost places pretty quickly although I didn’t quite have the pace to get onto the podium. Race two was going equally as well and although I had a few slides after the safety car had gone in, the lap times were good, and I felt strong in fifth. I was hanging on a bit to the front group but then the chain snapped which was unusual to say the least but it’s just one of those things and nothing the team could have done so we’ll look to end the season strongly with three strong rides at Brands Hatch.”

Alex Olsen: “Overall, it’s been a good day and although I’m slightly disappointed to have missed out on the points in the first race, I’m glad I made amends in the second with a good finish. A crash in morning warm-up put me on the back foot a bit and I struggled a bit with set-up in the first race which meant my pace dropped off on old tyres and I slipped back to 16th. We made some changes ahead of race two and they definitely worked as I was able to keep consistent with my lap times throughout the race. I’m learning all the time and understanding the bike more and more whilst the team are working incredibly hard and supporting me tremendously so to end the day with more points is very pleasing.”

Darren Jones, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s been another learning weekend and we’ve changed the bike a lot, some changes which have improved things but highlighted weaknesses in others and given us some work to do. The results have been a bit mixed, but we’re really pleased with Peter’s pace and performances and only a technical issue “ our first of the year in any race” cost him two top five finishes. For Alex, it was another good, learning weekend and only a gearbox issue prevented him from scoring points in the first race. He bounced back well in the second though to take 13th and to finish in the points again is a more than creditable achievement so he’s had another good weekend.”

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (20 laps)

1 Scott Redding (Ducati)

2 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)

3 Josh Brookes (Ducati)

4 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

5 Andrew Irwin (Honda)

6 Christian Iddon (BMW)

16 Alex Olsen (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

 

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (20 laps)

1 Scott Redding (Ducati)

2 Josh Brookes (Ducati)

3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)

4 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)

5 Christian Iddon (BMW)

6 Bradley Ray (Suzuki)

13 Alex Olsen (Smiths Racing BMW)

DNF Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Championship Standings (after 11 rounds)

1 Redding 645pts

2 Brookes 617

3 Bridewell 580

4 Buchan 559

5 Mackenzie 538

6 Hickman 530

23 Olsen 10

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