Back On Top – Hickman and BMW Return To Winning Ways.
Thruxton, the seventh round of the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, demonstrated the difficult duality of racing – filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the entire BSB paddock.
Although conditions had been mixed throughout the weekend, race day at Thruxton was graced by sun and near ideal conditions for racing. As in Brands, Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing) started out the front and immediately began hunting down Jake Dixon who had taken the holeshot.
His pursuit wouldn’t last long as the safety car was deployed due to Billy McConnell’s Kawasaki bursting into flames. After five laps behind the safety car, riders no longer had to worry about tyre life and pushed to the limit every lap.
Hickman and Dixon were joined by former BSB champions Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne. A red-hot battle erupted between Hickman and Dixon as the race’s end drew near, allowing Brookes to sneak through. After the disappointment of missing the podium at Brands, Hickman was delighted with second place.
Further down the order, Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) returned from a frustrating Suzuka 8 Hour to take fifth place, three seconds off the win. Martin Jessopp (RidersMotorcycles.com BMW) was delighted to finish in 11th ahead of fellow BMW S 1000 RR rider Jakub Smrz (Lloyd & Jones PR Racing).
Race 2 proved to be a dramatic affair with both Byrne and Brookes failing to finish due to a mechanical issue and a crash respectively. But Hickman was simply faultless as he roared to his and BMW Motorrad’s first BSB win of 2017 and the first ever Superbike class victory for his Smiths Racing Team. The win comes a year since Michael Laverty also triumphed in Race 2 at Thruxton, the diabolically fast track suiting the BMW S 1000 RR perfectly.
Martin Jessopp produced the ride of his life to finish in sixth at his local circuit, just behind Iddon in fourth – the Tyco BMW rider only 0.2s from the podium. Jessop was followed home by Lee Jackson (Smith Racing) who cracked the top ten in seventh. Jakub ‘Kuba’ Smrz made it five BMW S 1000 RRs in the top ten, clearly the bike to have at Thruxton.
Victory rockets Hickman to third in the championship, three points clear of Luke Mossey and only 20 points shy of Haslam. Further down, Christian Iddon remains in showdown contention despite missing races due to injury with 134 points. Despite being in 8th, the Tyco rider is only 20 points off Australians Josh Brookes and Jason O’Halloran – fifth and sixth respectively.
Hickman and the Smiths Racing team now head to the Ulster GP where the Burton upon Trent rider enters as a favourite
Pirelli National Superstock 1000
Adam Jenkinson returned to the podium in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race with a well-earned second place. He and Michael Rutter, tussled when the lights went out for the restart as both took a turn at leading. The pair sent each other wide on more than one occasion but Jenkinson rallied on his Northern Escalator Installations backed BMW S 1000 RR to grab second place for Danny Buchan. Rutter, who was also riding in the Superbike class this weekend, ended four
The weekend ended in a sombre mood for the BSB paddock after the loss of Mark Fincham. The Pirelli National Superstock 1000 rider fell during the start of the race, prompting an immediate red flag, and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment. BMW Motorrad UK would like to extend their thoughts and condolences to Mr Fincham’s family and team – True Heroes Racing.