Road Racing News

In Form Hickman Outlines MCE Insurance Ulster GP Hopes/Aspirations

Three times international road race winner Peter Hickman, tipped by many for big bike honours this week at Dundrod, goes into the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix in excellent form.

A race winner at the most recent round of the British Superbike Championship at Thruxton, Hicky since making his roads debut at TT 2014, has firmly established himself in recent years as a roads ‘Alien’.

Photo by Stephen Davison

Recently at the launch of Topaz Airport Road Service Station’s title sponsorship of the Dundrod 150 Superbike race, he gave a candid insight into his hopes and aspirations ahead of his fourth Ulster GP campaign.

Expressing his confidence, of the outright Ulster GP lap record, currently held by Ian Hutchinson, potentially next week moving conditions permitting into the high 134’s or even the 135 mph mark, he said:

“I definitely think we could go a lot faster than 134 mph. It all depends on the conditions obviously, if we can have a good couple of days of practice and get to Saturday with some good laps under our belt then I don’t see why we can’t push it up to maybe 135 or 136 mph.

It’d be great to have a lap record around a road circuit, apart from my newcomer record at the TT I’ve not had an outright lap record anywhere on the roads so it’d be nice to do something like that, and good to do it at the Ulster.”

Speaking highly of the Smiths Racing team, with which he enjoyed a brace of podium finishes at TT 2017, including finishing runner within the RST Superbike/Pokerstars Senior races, the BMW Motorrad mounted star stated:

“I’m very happy with where I am and I have the right people around me. Being able to hit the ground running at the start of the season gives you a competitive edge when you go testing and we’ve done a lot of development with the team.

Every time I get on the bikes there’s something new to try and that’s a real big part of being able to move forward.

It’s been a really strong year for me, the BMW has been working really well, we’ve managed to find a little bit of a sweet spot with it, which makes life a lot easier.”

The two times Macau GP winner went onto add:

“We want to turn up at Dundrod and have some good racing and at least be on the podium a few times and we want wins as well, that’s why we’re turning up. I can’t see why we can’t be in the top three in all the classes.

I’m expecting there to be a few of us at the front, and hopefully we’ll put on some good racing for the fans; Michael Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Dan Kneen and Conor Cummins should all be in the mix.

Dundrod is just an untouched, proper circuit, just as it should be. It’s fast, it’s flowing, it hasn’t had to be adapted with chicanes to try and make it safer; it already is as safe as you can make a road race, even though it is ridiculously fast.

It’s just such a good circuit to ride around, it makes me smile from the second I go out.

I enjoy riding on the roads so much, it’s so much fun, and I also enjoy the British Superbikes, and I’m fast doing both which is why I get so much excitement from both. For me it’s all about riding bikes as much as possible.”

Ulster GP, Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston, firmly believes Hicky is a prime contender for the coveted MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix Man of the Meeting award.

Noel said:

“Hicky is on superb form this year, and let’s not forget he was the fastest ever man through our speed trap last year at 199.8mph.

He’s just a real natural talent and the beauty of it is that despite how well he’s riding at the moment, I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet.

With the right set of circumstances, he could be serious contender for the MCE Ulster GP Man of the Meeting.”

Words by Stevie Rial

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