Smiths Racing

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SEASON BESTS AT OULTON PARK

Gloucester-based Smiths Racing BMW team enjoyed a strong third round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park with Peter Hickman claiming a fifth place finish and Lee Jackson getting his first points on the board.

Having qualified in eighth for the first 18-lap race around the Cheshire track, Hickman started from the middle of the third row and immediately moved forward, picking off the riders ahead of him in the early stages.   By half race distance, he was only three seconds adrift of the race leader Leon Haslam and having moved up to sixth on lap 12, which he made into fourth two laps later when he overtook both Josh Brookes and Jason O’Halloran. It looked he’d take the position at the chequered flag but O’Halloran had other ideas and at the final corner on the final lap, he regained the place and so Peter crossed the line in fifth place for another excellent result.

The Louth-based rider started from seventh for the second 18-lap affair and it was even more closely fought with up to eight riders battling for the podium places and separated by only one and a half seconds. Despite never running higher than seventh, Peter was always in contention for the podium but a slight mistake at half race distance saw him slip back before taking a solid seventh at the chequered flag.

Team-mate Jackson again made good strides forward over the course of the weekend and his efforts were rewarded with his first points of the season. Starting the first race from 19th on the grid, the 21 year old made good progress throughout the race and finished in 15th to take a hard earned point.   The Lincoln rider again lined up in 19th for race two and by lap three he was up to 16th and on the edge of the points. Jackson found himself battling with a large group of riders for a top ten placing before settling for 13th position at the flag to claim his best result of the season.

 

Peter Hickman: “Fifth was a good result in the first race but I was a bit disappointed to have left the door open on the last corner. Normally you can hear the bikes behind you but on this occasion, I couldn’t so I thought I had a safe fourth! I was a bit annoyed but top five was still a good outcome and we made further improvements to the bike for race two although I again made an average start. I had the pace to finish on the podium but all of the riders in the group were lapping at a similar pace so it was difficult to pass and then hold onto the position if you had made a pass. I got bullied a bit and made a couple of mistakes so rolled off a bit to bring the bike home.”

Lee Jackson: “It’s my first points of the year and we’ve made some definite improvements to the bike so we’re going in the right direction. P13 and P15 isn’t where I want to be so the next step is to get into the top ten again like I have been before. I’ve been trying to make the bike feel like my own and make it more consistent and we’re definitely getting there. I had good mid-race pace on each occasion but did lose a bit of durability whilst a mistake on the last lap allowed Smrz to pip me for 12th. The improvements the team have made have been in the right direction and we’re getting closer to the top ten.”

 

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager:  “Peter scored some good points again but such is the closeness of the championship, he’s gone from fifth to eighth in the table despite two fine rides. He’s consistently running with the top group so we’re happy with how he’s riding and together with the team, he’s continually moving forward and getting quicker. He can now look forward to the road racing season with a lot of confidence. It was great to see Lee score his first points of the season and he’s made a lot of progress with the bike, both on the track with the bike and off it with his confidence. He’s getting closer to where we all know he can be so our plan is to get a test lined up before the next round at Knockhill to give him every chance of finishing in the top ten.”

 

MCE British Superbike Championship race one (18 laps)

1 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)

2 Shane Byrne (Ducati)

3 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki)

4 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

5 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

6 James Ellison (Yamaha)

15 Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW)

MCE British Superbike Championship race two (18 laps)

1 Shane Byrne (Ducati)

2 Glenn Irwin (Ducati)

3 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

4 Christian Iddon (BMW)

5 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki)

6 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

7 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

13 Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW)

Championship Standings (after three rounds)

1 Haslam 111 pts 2 Mossey 108 3 Iddon 86 4 Brookes 67 5 Irwin 63 6 O’Halloran 61

8 Hickman 57

20 Jackson 4

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