Picture by Dave Yeomans

Peter Hickman got his 2015 British Superbike season underway in fine style when he scored a brace of top five finishes at Donington Park in the opening two races of the season for the RAF Reserves BMW team.

Despite very limited testing time the 27 year old rider from Louth in Lincolnshire progressed quickly with the new bike and made it through to the final stages of qualifying with ease. He was seventh which gave him a starting position on the third row of the grid for Monday’s opener.

A good start to the 20 lap race was sufficient to move Hicky up into the top six on the first lap and he remained in that position throughout the early laps. At the half way stage of the race he moved forward into fifth place and continued to challenge for fourth until the chequered flag. Fifth place in his first race on a new machine proves that Hicky has amazing talent and this was a fantastic start to his campaign.

Starting race two from a second row grid position Peter didn’t get the best of starts and found himself down in eighth place fighting for position. But he quickly settled into his race and began to pick off the opposition until on lap six he had moved up into fourth place. The leading three riders had made a break but with a clear track in front of him Hicky began to steadily reel them in. He was posting lap times much faster than the leaders and was less than a second away from Stuart Easton in third place on the final lap. But he simply ran out of time and also fuel! He made it over the finish line with very little fuel left in the tank but was well ahead of his nearest rival and therefore retained fourth place at the chequered flag.

Peter Hickman:

“To be honest, I’m not quite sure how we’ve finished in the top five this weekend as Saturday was the first full day I’d had on the bike with the whole team here and I never expected to be in the top ten never mind the top six! We’ve been trying so much in terms of set-up and the opening race was the 40th electronic map we’d put in whilst we were continually playing with the suspension and the like.”

“Aside from the gearbox, the bike’s completely stock so we know there’s plenty more to come and I’m confident we can make further strides forward next time out. The bike’s absolutely brilliant and I can’t thank the team enough. It was a shame I got bullied a bit at the beginning of the second race whilst I also ran out of fuel on the final lap otherwise I think I could’ve run with the top three for the entire race. We’ve probably surprised ourselves to be so high up on the results sheets this weekend but it’s been a mega first round and I’m so, so pleased.”

Lee Hardy, Team Owner:

“It’s been an amazing weekend for us and although we knew Peter would be strong at this circuit; with such limited time on the bike we’d have been happy with the top 15 and some points. We never expected fourth and fifth place finishes at all and although it’s early days, to be lying in fifth overall is no mean feat for a team operating on the budget that we do.”

The second round of the series will be held at Brands Hatch, Kent on the weekend of April 17/18.