Hickman seals fifth spot in Superbike championships

Peter Hickman. Photo: Dave Yeomans.
Peter Hickman. Photo: Dave Yeomans.

Despite recording three top-10 finishes in the final round of the 2018 British Superbike championships at Brands Hatch, it was not quite enough to seal third place for Peter Hickman.

Instead, the Willoughby rider had to be content with a close fifth place in the final rider standings, while he and Smiths Racing were the top BMW Motorrad team for a second successive year.

“It’s certainly been a mixed weekend weather-wise and, although we fell one place short of where we finished in 2017, I’m pleased with fifth overall and finishing as the top BMW rider once more,” said Hickman.

“I qualified well, for once, and we were fast in the dry where I had the pace to win, but there was just one part of the circuit where I was losing a bit of time.

“The two wet races were very hard work especially on the Indy part of the circuit so I’m happy enough with fifth overall and to be only 11 points adrift of third is a good effort.

“It was a challenging end to the season but everyone stuck together and we again showed just what a good team we are.”

All through free practice and qualifying Hickman was always within the top seven and began the first race on Saturday from a second-row grid position.

He got away well to take up fourth place on the opening lap and overtook Tarran MacKenzie on lap three to move into the top three.

He made a pass on Jake Dixon for third on lap eight but then ran wide which allowed MacKenzie and Andrew Irwin to get past him.

Hickman remained in fifth place for the duration of the 20-lap affair to pick up 11 championship points and to move to within six points of Josh Brookes, who was holding fourth place in the standings.

As the riders took their grid positions for race two on Sunday it was raining heavily, which made for a difficult race for Hickman, who made a steady start from the second row.

But a slip at Graham Hill Bend on the first lap saw him drop down the field to 15th.

He settled into the race and began to pick off riders and made his way forward to 10th on lap eight.

Hickman benefitted from other riders making mistakes and crashing and, with five laps remaining, he found himself up into sixth place where he remained to the chequered flag.

Having completed the race ahead of Brookes, Hickman was now just three points away from him and a good result in the final race could see him move ahead to fourth place in the overall points.

But it was not to be as, with rain still falling, Hickman finished in ninth place and ended his season in fifth position overall, just a handful of points behind Brookes.

Hickman is now preparing for the Macau GP in mid November where he will be seeking his third win at the annual event.