International Road Race expert Peter Hickman recorded a comfortable win in the opening Superstock race at the 2019 North West 200 races in Northern Ireland on Thursday, repeating his victory in the corresponding race in last year’s event.
But Saturday’s racing was delayed because of rain and fuel spillages with Hickman completing just one lap of the Superstock race before returning to the pits to retire.
The rider rode to pole position in qualifying with a lap just shy of the existing lap record and, although he was headed by Glenn Irwin at York Roundabout, Hickman slipped past to take the lead on the run down to University.
As the race progressed Hickman pulled clear and was never challenged again.
At the end of the six laps of the 8.9 mile public roads course Hickman crossed the finish line to take the win from Irwin, with Michael Dunlop coming home in a distant third place.
Earlier in the evening Hickman had started the Supersport race on the K2 Trooper Triumph by Smiths Racing but although he was running in a strong fourth place he was forced out at Metropole on the first lap when a stone went through the radiator.
Hickman said: “I was a bit disappointed after the Supersport race when we had a stone go through the radiator as I felt I had the pace to finish on the podium so this more than makes up for it.
“The bike hadn’t turned a wheel before Tuesday so I’ve had no time on the bike so to take a win first time out is full credit to BMW and the Smiths Racing team.
“The boys tried to keep me at bay initially but I soon got to the front and from that moment on, I just put my head down and tried to get away.
“I felt really strong along the coast road and once I’d managed to break away, I managed the race from there.”
On Saturday racing was delayed until the afternoon because of the wet weather and, although he completed a few siting laps, Hickman withdrew from the Supersport race on safety grounds.
He, along with numerous other riders, opted to sit out the first Superbike race in the hope that the promised better weather would arrive in time for the Superstock race.
As the track had dried he went out but after the first lap pulled into the pits to retire.
“Unfortunately both myself and the Smiths Racing team have decided to call it a day,” Hickman said afterwards.
“To say I am disappointed is an understatement but I tried.”
Hickman now heads to Donington Park where he will contest three races at round three of the 2019 British Superbike championship this weekend.
Timetable: Friday - free practice 10.30am and 3.20pm; Saturday - free practice 9.40am, qualifying 11.45am, race one 26 laps 4.15pm; Sunday - warm-up 9.15am, race two 26 laps 1.30pm, race three 26 laps 4.30pm.