The Bennetts British Superbike Championship returned to Thruxton for the first time since 2019 and Hickman headed to the southwest after a couple of frustrating rounds.
The weather didn’t play ball as strong winds and rain hampered progress on Friday during FP1 and FP2, leaving Hicky in 10th which means he went straight into Q2 for Qualifying.
Saturday morning and struggling to find the grip in FP3 that Hicky wanted, the team worked to find the solution needed going into qualifying. Something worked as Peter jumped 15 places into P3 with a great lap 5 minutes from the end, Vickers took that place with a lap to go and Hicky qualified 4th with 1m 15:281s.
(This was later changed as Vickers had a penalty from FP1, moving Hicky to the front row).
Hicky got a good start behind Jason and Glen. The safety car was deployed at the beginning of the second lap, bunching the field back up for a few laps, whilst the crash was cleared.
Jason got another good start and broke away. On lap five, Hickman moved into second and the front two started to break away.
Things were looking good but then, Hicky’s tyres were starting to run out and Iddon started to close the gap, followed closely by Glen.
Iddon got through, making a move at the Chicane, followed by a brave move by Irwin around the outside at the Chicane on lap 13. Hicky was now down to 4th.
Irwin, now battling with Iddon, had a big high side going down almost in Hicky’s path, giving Peter 3rd place, a hard-fought podium finish and a sore backside for Irwin.
O’Halloran again got the best start off the line with Irwin, Jackson and Iddon then Vickers and Hicky tucked in behind. Hicky found himself bullied back to 8th and tangling with Buchan and Ray. Carnage ahead with Vickers and Iddon nearly coming together and collecting others as they rejoined the track. On lap 10 Iddon and Jackson came down. Tyres were starting to play a big part in the race. Hicky started to catch the group fighting for the 3rd podium place, lap by lap he closed into the pack waiting for someone to make a mistake. Vickers came down on the final lap and nearly took others with him, this promoting Peter to 5th as the chequered flag dropped.
Declared a wet race, Hicky decided on full wets to make the break from the group was the aim and heading into lap 1, Hicky went into P3 by the time they reached the first corner. By the end of lap 1, Hicky punched his way into P1, breaking away with Mackenzie also on full wets.
Lap by lap they kept their distance from the chasing group who were all running the intermediate tyre choices. On Lap 4 Peter set the fastest lap of the race so far 1m 22.291s but the group behind were taking advantage of the dryline starting to appear over the far side of the circuit.
Lap by lap Hicky pushed as hard as he could in the mixed conditions, staying ahead of Tarran, but O’Halloran and Buchan were ready to pounce. On Lap 9, Hickys luck ran out and he losing two places putting him back to P3 fighting to keep 3rd with Tarran. Kent, Irwin and Vickers took full advantage of the conditions and even though the rain was now falling hard, it was too late for Hicky, finishing in P8.
Peter “Bit of a tough weekend as it didn’t go quite the way we wanted it to, although race one was obviously strong, finishing on the podium was great, not only for myself but for the team. Thruxton has always been a strong round for me in the past but really felt like we were struggling a little bit. One reason I think is we were made to use the harder compound tyre this weekend, we didn’t have the choice of the super-soft tyre, SCX, that choice was taken by Pirelli I guess.
That meant we had to use the SC0 as the softest tyre we could use, but I really struggle with it. I struggled with it all of last year and as soon as we put it in I had all of the problems we had last year. We really struggled to make the bike work on that harder tyre.
Racing was hard for me, although, P3 was good, we came to win, not to finish 3rd. Race two I was a little cautious so to save the tyre for the end of the race. I was faster than the group in front of me towards the end of the race but I had left it a little too late. Fortunately for me, Vickers slipped off and gifted me 5th, still solid points of course and I gained on lots of other riders championship wise. Race three today was mixed conditions, it was a gamble one way or another, you never really know which way it’s going to go. I went full wets, with a harder rear as I knew it could dry out and hoped it would rain some more. I don’t like inters, I never have done, I’ve always chosen a slick over an inter. As it turns out the inter would have been the way to go. I did as much as I could, I led for 9 laps, making as much time as I could early on over the rest of the field.
It was nice to lead for a good few laps of course, but it didn’t go quite the way we needed it to.
Still solid points on the board, I’m 6th in the championship and 2 points off 5th after coming into the weekend joint 7th so I am happy with the weekend overall as our hands were tied with the tyre, but onwards to Donington next and getting back on the SCX!
A big thank you to all my sponsors, your support has been mega”