Age 30 Debut 2014 Best result 4th
‘Podium finishes are my target this year’ PETER HICKMAN
Laidback and amiable, Hickman shuns the boorish intensity that cloaks rivals like Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson. The 30-year-old revels in the attention he now receives in the road racing paddock where he made an instant impact by setting the fastest-ever newcomer’s lap on his TT debut in 2014.
Hickman’s rise has been meteoric. Plagued by machine problems on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki last year, he still managed to join the exclusive sevenmember 132mph club. His best Senior lap of 132.465mph saw him leapfrog established stars like James Hillier, Guy Martin, Bruce Anstey and Conor Cummins to become the fourth fastest TT rider of all-time. The challenge now is to turn that speed into results.
For 2017, the Burton-on-trent rider is back with BMW – the bike he has used to claim his major road racing results so far. Hickman won the last two Macau Grands Prix on S1000RRS, plus the 2015 Ulster GP superbike race. The cut and thrust of three rounds of BSB com- petition will ensure the 30-year-old arrives at the TT race sharp and his results at the recent North West 200, despite major electronics issues with the Smith’s BMW, were encouraging.
“We run Motec at BSB but switched to the BMW electronics system for the North West and I just didn’t have the feel I wanted,” he explained.
“I was strong on the brakes and at top speed while the handling was also really good but I was losing a lot of time getting out of the corners as I just couldn’t open the throttle and get on the power as I would have liked.” It is understood the team will revert to the Motec system for the TT and Hickman is full of confidence he can at least be on a TT podium this year.
“Podium finishes are my target for this year,” he says. “I did 132.4mph in the Senior last year and I think I would have hit 133mph if I had been able to keep running to the end of the race. With it being just my third year at the TT and the first on a superbike that should have been enough to produce a podium. The depth of competition in the field and lap speeds are much greater now than they were for Michael Dunlop or Hutchy when they were on the podium earlier in their careers,” he said.