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Peter Hickman Smiths Racing

THRUXTON PODIUM FOR HICKMAN AND SMITHS RACING, ELLISON DEPARTS

Round seven of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship saw Gloucester-based Smiths Racing BMW in action at their local round at Thruxton and it proved to be a highly successful meeting for the team as Peter Hickman took his and the team’s first podium of the season.

With four podiums from the last four races at the high-speed Hampshire venue, Lincoln -based Hickman was firmly aiming for a big haul of points and he signalled his intentions from the word go and, after topping the timesheets in both of Friday’s free practice sessions on the Smiths BMW S1000RR, he duly qualified in an excellent third place for Sunday’s opening race.   Team-mate James Ellison was also enjoying better fortunes around the 2.35-mile circuit and 15th place was not only his second-best qualifying performance of the year; it also saw him lap just over half a second adrift of pole setter Scott Redding.

Both riders were subsequently in a confident mood heading into Sunday’s races and the first 20-lap affair saw Hickman in the leading group and battling throughout the race whereby he ended up in fifth place with Cumbrian Ellison crossing the line in 16th place, just missing out on the points, after running inside the top 12 for a lot of the race.

With lap times extremely close, it was Ellison who was the best placed of the two on the grid for the second race and lined up in fourth place at the head of the second row with Hickman in eighth and in the middle of the third row.    However, as the race settled down, Hickman was the better placed of the two riders in second, just half a second behind race leader Josh Brookes. Ellison was running strongly in seventh but on lap nine the race was stopped due to spots of rain falling. Re-started over the shorter distance of 13 laps, Peter and James were running in fourth and sixth respectively when the red flag came out again for an oil spillage.

It eventually came down to an eight-lap sprint with Hickman running in the top four throughout and after a race long battle with paint exchanged on a number of occasions, he ultimately took third place to give the 2019 Smiths BMW S1000RR its first BSB podium of the season.

Ellison had one of his stronger rides of the season so far and took 11th place with the results seeing Hickman end the day in eighth overall in the championship standings, now just 16 points adrift of sixth place and the final Showdown position.   Following the second Bennetts BSB race, the team have decided to part with James Ellison.

Peter Hickman: “We’ve been fast all weekend and have been quick right from the very first practice session so it’s good to end the weekend with a podium as it’s the least we all deserve. Race one didn’t quite go to plan as I got pushed onto the kerbs at the chicane near the end which although I clawed back the ground I lost; I ran out of time to get into the top three. Race two was a lot better but it was hectic and there was a lot fairing bashing between myself and Andrew Irwin whilst I was also down a bit on speed with the stock engine. It was hard to overtake so third is a great result and it’s great to be back on the podium.”

Darren Jones, Team Co-ordinator: “It’s been a pretty good weekend overall and Peter started it strongly on Friday and was fast straight out of the box which is always a good sign. We were a bit apprehensive coming here as we knew the stock engine would be down a bit on top end, but we made some improvements to the bike in a number of areas which helped considerably. Our race pace was good but a coming together at the chicane lost him some time and fifth was the end result. Race two was exciting to say the least but he got stuck in and it was great to be back on the podium and give BMW their first BSB podium with the new Smiths BMW S1000RR. James was on an identical bike to Pete this weekend but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the results neither he nor we had hoped for. As a result, we have had a chat and decided that we will go our separate ways so would like to thank James for his efforts this season and we wish him well in the future.”

Hickman and the team now head to the Ulster Grand Prix with practice getting underway around the 7.4-mile Dundrod road circuit on Wednesday followed by the next round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (20 laps)

1 Andrew Irwin (Honda)

2 Scott Redding (Ducati)

3 Josh Brookes (Ducati)

4 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)

5 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

6 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)

16 James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Bennetts British Superbike Championship race two (8 laps)

1 Josh Brookes (Ducati)

2 Andrew Irwin (Honda)

3 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

4 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)

5 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)

6 Christian Iddon (BMW)

11 James Ellison (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Championship Standings (after seven rounds)

1 Redding 246pts

2 Brookes 226

3 Bridewell 207

4 Buchan 150

5 Mackenzie 144

6 Irwin 139

8 Hickman 123

21 Ellison 23

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