HICKMAN IS THE MASTER OF MACAU
Frantic battle sees BSB star rule on new BMW
‘It was the hardest race of my life. I had to dig really deep’ PETER HICKMAN
Peter Hickman won the Macau Grand Prix for the second year in a row by blowing away a star-studded field on his BMW S1000RR.
In the 50th running of the Chinese race the Burton-on-trent man kept his best to last, moving into the lead with just two laps to go and taking victory from team-mate Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp on the Riders Motorcycles BMW.
Hickman was delighted: “It was one of the hardest races I’ve ever had and I had to dig really deep.”
Run in a steamy 28 degree heat, Hickman, Rutter, Jessopp and Macau rookie Glenn Irwin broke clear of the rest of the field with Rutter leading from Jessopp and Hickman trying to keep Irwin at bay.
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman, who was having his first big bike ride on the roads on the Be Wiser/pbm Ducati, was the sensation of the meeting after qualifying third and matching the pace at the front until the penultimate lap when he was forced to retire with an electrical issue.
“This place is mental.” Irwin smiled as he got to grips with the total absence of run-off on the Chinese street circuit.
“It has to be the most dangerous track in the world. But we race to get a buzz and this place gives you one hell of a buzz!”
Veteran Rutter used all his 22 years of Macau experience to try to get back in front on the final lap. He said: “It was a brilliant race from the start and I pushed hard all the way.”
Starting on pole, Martin Jessopp had moved into the lead on lap eight, but his challenge was destroyed when he hit a false neutral at Lisboa.
“I think I’ve had a third and three seconds at Macau so I am gutted not to win today.” the Yeovil man smiled.
But the race belonged to Peter Hickman who ended a strong year after two BSB victories with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad and podiums at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
“I should have been on the podium in the Senior TT too but the bike let me down.” Hickman recalled. Still without a ride for 2017, there is speculation that he may join an expanded Smt/bathams BMW team in BSB.
Conor Cummins, (Honda) finished fourth and John Mcguinness (Honda) was sixth. Ian Hutchinson, who lost his electronic aids on his Tyco BMW before the start, struggled home seventh.
A jubilant Peter Hickman gives credit to the team that got him on the top step