Peter Hickman’s hopes of reaching the Bennetts British Superbike Championship Showdown for the fifth time in six years took a dent at Thruxton when he was forced to retire from the final race – but the FHO Racing BMW rider was the only one to take the fight to the flying Yamahas all weekend.
Back at one of his happy hunting grounds, Hickman was looking to claw back ground on the top eight and second in qualifying showed he was on track to do exactly that. Although he wasn’t able to replicate his pace for the full race distance in Saturday’s opener, fifth and good points was the ultimate outcome.
He increased his pace on Sunday and the high temperatures saw him run on the back of Jason O’Halloran, Tarran Mackenzie and Bradley Ray for two thirds of each race before losing ground in the closing stages.
“It seems like every race weekend we go to at the minute it's over 30 degrees but it’s been a strong one for us,” Hickman reflected on Sunday afternoon. "We didn’t have the pace for podiums against the Yamahas but out and out pace we actually have, although not for a full race distance - so best of the rest was as much as we could do.
“I didn’t get my first race quite right to be honest so changed my tactics and bike for the second and it made an improvement. We were a long way in front of fifth and finished fourth which was great. I hung with the Yamahas as long as I could!”
The final race of the weekend was following the same pattern as the front four riders pulled away from the rest of the field but hopes of another fourth place disappeared on the 15th of 20 laps when he slowed approaching the final chicane.
“In the last race, I was a good five seconds ahead of fifth again when the earth cable on the battery broke which was devastating. Gutted wasn’t the word.
"But, when you look at the weekend as a whole it’s been good. I qualified second with my fastest ever lap at Thruxton and now we just need to look ahead to Cadwell and let’s see what we can do there.”
Hickman now sits in ninth place overall, 43 points adrift of Tommy Bridewell and the final Showdown position but with Cadwell Park the next venue, another of his favourite and most productive circuits, he’ll be confident of reducing that gap further.