Heading to Donington Park for Round 10, Hicky needed to secure a podium and solid points to stay in the hunt for the title.
On Friday during the Bennetts British Superbike Championship free practice, Hickman, set some good lap times and overcame his small crash in the morning session to finish in seventh position for Superpicks Q2.
Saturday morning and the schedule was changed due to bad weather arriving later in the day. There were mixed conditions as the qualifying session started with several of the top contenders falling and Peter qualifying in eleventh meant he had a tough start for race one at lunchtime.
Race One – 16 Laps
A very wet race and the pack set off with very limited grip and vision. Hicky was in the thick of the action following O’Halloran but on lap 3 crashed out at Starkeys. The track was treacherous and five of the Showdown riders crashed over the next few laps.
Joe Francis made an impressive debut with the FHO Racing BMW team to score a sixth-place finish.
Race Two – 20 Laps
Starting from sixteenth, due to the lap times from race one, Hicky had a battle ahead of him.
O’Halloran and Mackenzie were just ahead of him and he got away really well.
By lap 2, Hicky had already made up four places and another two on lap 3. Chasing down Jackson on lap 4 he had moved up seven places and looking really strong closing down his rivals.
By lap 5, Hicky had set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:30.154s closing down Bridewell. Moving up into sixth, disaster, the chain snapped and came through the seat! Race over.
Race Three – 20 Laps
A third-row start alongside Bridewell and Brookes. The heavens opened on the warm-up lap. Race control delayed the start by ten minutes allowing set up changes. The rain wasn’t going anywhere and was even heavier now. After two sighting laps, the race was further delayed and bikes went back to the garages.
Finally, the race was started, now a 15 lap race in cold wet conditions.
Hicky moved up to fifth by the first corner, a solid start. Tiptoeing through Craner Curves, dropped back a couple of places but Hicky needed to stay focused and on the bike.
Mackenzie retired promoting Hicky to sixth with O’Halloran ahead of him. On Lap 5 he got past O’Show but the leading riders were too far ahead to try and catch. So a lonely few laps ahead.
Andy Irwin and Ryan Vickers caught up and passed Hicky but, happy to finish and secure points, he took seventh place.
“A very tough weekend for myself and the FHO Racing Team. Friday, was awesome, second fastest, really comfortable with the bike, felt like we had a strong pace and was looking forward to Saturday.
Saturday came and so did the rain. I didn’t have the feeling I wanted, it just didn’t give me the confidence to allow me to do what I wanted with the bike. I’ve said it before, we’ve not been very strong in the rain this year at all. However, when I went out in qualifying, I slowly built up the lap times getting faster and faster and although a way off the qualifying time at the front, I felt much more comfortable and my last lap was my fastest lap.
Going onto Race One I was actually OK with the rain, but once we were away, I was out of the seat four times before the end of the first lap! I settled in a little bit, didn’t have the same moments as before and getting a better feeling from the bike. I sat behind Jason O’Halloran and was quite happy just to sit there as it was going to be one of those races. Going up under what would have been Starkeys bridge into Schwantz, the bike just absolutely let go and fired me over the handlebars, a big high side, which I was not expecting as I wasn’t pushing. Not ideal to say the least. If I had been really trying, I would have accepted it a little more, but being as I was just riding round, trying to settle into the race, a big shame.
The bike was pretty much trashed, but the team did an awesome job as always and rebuilt the bike ready for warm-up this morning. It felt mega again, it was almost dry and I even went out on intermediates to see how I felt and make sure the bike was ok.
The second race and 16th on the grid is a long way back, due to the lap time from Saturday. I felt really strong and got all the way up to 6th, really starting to make some headway and within touching distance of the front group which I was really happy about as normally starting that far back, you can’t get through but this time it was all coming together. Coming onto the back straight the chain snapped and hit me in the back of the leg. Really unusual, very lucky, it would have been worse taking me down but it came up through the seat and hit my leg, giving me a dead leg for a few minutes.
So really disappointed not to have finished that race as I feel I could have been on the podium or challenged for the race win, but it just didn’t happen in the end. First technical fault from the bike this year, apart from Knockhill, the bike has been faultless.
Looking forward to finishing the weekend on a positive, I knew we had the pace and the warm-up lap the rain came. The organisers did a good job of holding off and getting the track cleared as much as possible. After yesterday I was then not looking forward to the rain, but I just rode round as I just didn’t want to fall off after having two crashes, one on Friday and one on Saturday, plus the chain breaking. I finished 7th and went fairly quickly in the rain and considering where we had been in the rain recently, I was more than happy with that.
Another weird weekend for me so seems to be a trait of this year, having these weekends. I just want to say a massive thanks to the FHO Racing Team, they did a fantastic job as always, the bike felt mega in the dry as it always does.
Looking forward to getting to Brands Hatch and try to take the maximum points. Looking forward to seeing you all there!”