FHO Racing’s Peter Hickman claimed his second Bennetts British Superbike Championship win of the weekend at Cadwell Park in Sunday’s opening race around the 2.2-mile circuit.
The BMW rider took the lead from the McAMS Yamaha of Jason O’Halloran on lap nine and despite being under extreme pressure held on by just over a tenth of a second with Tommy Bridewell again coming through the pack for third on the Oxford Products Racing Ducati.
Morning rain and mist had cleared to leave fully dry conditions, save for the odd damp patch under the trees, once more at the Lincolnshire venue and O’Halloran grabbed the lead off the line.
He led by almost half a second at the end of the opening lap from Hickman, Christian Iddon, Lee Jackson and Glenn and Andrew Irwin. Bridewell’s issues off the line again saw him lose out though and he dropped four places to eighth.
By the start of lap three, the leading seven were covered by less than two seconds with Bridewell now up to seventh at the expense of Ryan Vickers but Iddon didn’t stay in the pack much longer as the VisionTrack Ducati rider crashed out at Charlie’s without injury.
The crash split the pack slightly with the leading four riders of O’Halloran, Hickman, Jackson and Glenn Irwin split by a second with almost a second back to fifth placed Bridewell who’d found his way by Andrew Irwin. Further back, Josh Brookes overtook Vickers for seventh with five riders battling for the position.
Back at the front and there was still little to choose between the top four with Bridewell closing in all the time, bringing Andrew Irwin with him; indeed, just 1.5s separated first to sixth at one-thirds race distance with Brookes 2.4s adrift in seventh on the remaining VisionTrack Ducati.
Lap nine saw Hickman take the lead for the first time as he slid inside O’Halloran on the downhill descent into Mansfield and by the end of the lap, he’d already edged half a second clear.
The BMW man was trying to break the pack like he’d done on Sunday but O’Halloran and Jackson weren’t letting him get away and the leading pack had now become two groups of three. Meanwhile, Bridewell moved up to fourth on lap 11.
Lap 12 saw Hickman’s lead stretch to three-quarters of a second as Jackson continued to look for a way by O’Halloran, Bridewell trying to do the same to the Kawasaki man. The battle for fifth was now a three-way dice too with Brookes having reeled in the Irwin siblings.
It was Bridewell who found a gap first and he took over third at the start of lap 13 when Hickman’s lead went up to more than a second for the first time. Brookes took sixth a lap later and that then became fifth when Glenn Irwin ran slightly wide at Charlie’s.
O’Halloran reduced Hickman’s lead to 0.6s on lap 15 and Bridewell was going with him, the Ducati man setting the fastest lap of the race on the same lap. Rory Skinner’s race came to an end just a few laps later though when he crashed out of tenth at Charlie’s.
Going into the final lap Hickman’s lead was down to 0.3s and O’Halloran then set the fastest first sector time with a view to making a move at Park. Hickman had it all covered though and duly took his second win of the weekend – the first time he’s achieved such a feat in his career – by 0.155s.
Bridewell took third, again paying for his sluggish start, with Jackson in fourth and Brookes enjoying his best dry weather result of the season in fifth. Glenn Irwin, Andrew Irwin, Bradley Ray, Vickers and Storm Stacey completed the top ten whilst class rookie Tim Neave had a good ride into 11th on the Buildbase Suzuki.