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Peter Hickman again urges rule change to bring NW200 into line with TT after FHO withdrawal

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Peter Hickman has again called on organisers for the North West 200 to align its rules and regulations with that of the Isle of Man TT amid controversy over the decision by FHO Racing to withdraw its entries to the Northern Irish event.

FHO Racing BMW Motorrad UK - the current lap record holders at the TT with Hickman - this week confirmed it will not make the trip to the NW200 in May with the Louth rider and team-mate Josh Brookes.

The NW200 is considered a competitive warm-up event for the blue riband TT, which takes place just three weeks’ later, and thus usually attracts many of the leading contenders that will go on to compete in the Manx event.


As such, the move is seen as a blow to Hickman and Brookes’ preparations for the TT and has raised speculation the decision has been motivated by the team’s controversial disqualification from last year’s Superstock races.

The team was found to be using wheel rims that didn’t meet requirements as stipulated in the event’s unique set of regulations set out by the Irish Motorcycle Union. In response, FHO Racing team manager Faye Ho withdrew  the team entirely from the 2023 NW200 event.

Officially speaking, the statement from FHO Racing confirming its absence insists the decision has been motivated by the short turnover time between the preceding British Superbike round. The event - Round 2 of the season at Oulton Park - takes place on the May Bank Holiday Monday, though organisers for the NW200 have built in an extra day to allow for travel.

Instead, there is scrutiny on the governing body for not budging on its fairly unique set of regulations which vary to those of the TT, which itself is largely based around domestic and international ideals. 

It’s a situation that has long baffled Hickman, saying it makes no sense to devise rules that differ from that of the TT given the large number of riders and teams that compete in both just weeks apart.

“I’m super disappointed,” Hickman, who will still race at the NW200 in the Supersport and Supertwins class with his own PHR Performance outfit, told the Belfast Telegraph

“It’s something so easy and simple to understand if you’re looking for it properly, but politics end up ruining everything and this is why they need to follow what the TT does.

“It’s two or three weeks before the TT and we were all told the rules are the same as the TT, and now they’re saying they’re not, so that’s where it has all kind of come from. It’s just a bit sour really and a bit unfortunate.

“Whenever the TT rules are published, just copy them. Bear in mind that 90% of this grid is made up of riders who are racing at the TT for one obvious reason: this is a good warm-up and a good test.

“I certainly would be disappointed if I can’t come back to the event but something will have to change.”

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