Hickman secures Showdown spot in British Superbike championship

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Peter Hickman secured a place in the British Superbike championship’s Showdown.

The Willoughby rider overcame a crash which saw him break a finger to force his way into the top-six following the three races at Oulton Park over the weekend.

Hicky needed to beat Andy Irwin by a two-point margin to snatch sixth place and, although it was not all plain sailing as he crashed out of the first race, he went on to take eighth place in each of the other two races to record 16 championship points, more than enough to reach his goal.

After qualifying for a third-row start, Hickman was running well in seventh place until, on lap three, he slipped on some fluid and crashed heavily at Druids, his race over.

He said: “the rear end just suddenly spun round on me.

“I always run a little wider than some of the other riders at that point on the track but there was some fluid put down and it caught me out.

“I am ok apart from a broken finger, but the bike suffered a lot of damage and, despite the best efforts of the Smiths Racing mechanics, I was unable to make the restart.”

The non finish meant that Hickman would have to start the second race from the seventh row, and it was to be a big ask to get on terms with the leaders.

But Hickman got away to a good start, making up eight places on the opening lap to 13th position.

He continued to make progress and, with three laps remaining, passed Mackenzie for eighth place and eight championship points.

As Irwin did not take part in the race Hickman moved up into sixth position in the overall standings, but there was one more race to seal his position.

He knew that if he could remain ahead of Irwin he would have his place in the showdown.

Starting the final race from the third row, Hickman remained in ninth place through the first five laps.

He was elevated to eighth when the leader crashed and then held seventh for a few laps before being overhauled by Mackenzie on lap 15 of 17.

But Irwin was running well behind him and he just rode home in a safe eighth place to secure his place in the end-of-season showdown, where the top six riders go head-to-head through the final three rounds for the title of 2019 British Superbike champion.

The very worst he can end the season is in sixth place, but he could move significantly nearer to the top three with a good showing in the final three rounds.

Hickman said: “Practice and qualifying had gone really well and I was confident of a top-six finish in the first race, so for it to end with a crash through no fault of my own was very disappointing and I was lucky not to pick up serious injuries.

“It made race two difficult with having to start a long way back on the grid, but we did what we needed in race three and it’s great to be in the Showdown again.

“I’ll be giving it my all at the final three rounds and will ensure I leave nothing on the table.”

Darren Jones, team co-coordinator, said: “On the one hand, it’s been a tough weekend but on the other hand, it’s been a great weekend and to make it into the Showdown for the third year running, and be the top BMW team again, is brilliant.

“The DNF in race one made it hard work for everyone, not least the team in rebuilding what was a fairly damaged bike, but Pete did a great job in today’s first race and then rode to his pit signals in race two.

“He did exactly what he needed to do so full credit to him and the whole team for all their hard work during the year with the new Smiths BMW S1000RR.”

The next round is at Assen in the Netherlands on September 20-22.