ULSTER GP: Peter Hickman confident of podium charge at Dundrod

Peter Hickman on the GBmoto Kawasaki at the Isle of Man TT in June.
Peter Hickman on the GBmoto Kawasaki at the Isle of Man TT in June.

Peter Hickman is bristling with confidence as he prepares to return to the scene of his maiden international road racing victory at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix in August.

Hickman caused a sensation last year when he held off Conor Cummins and Michael Dunlop to win the second Superbike race in only his second ever visit to Dundrod.

The British Superbike contender has switched to Kawasaki machinery this season in the GBmoto Racing team and says the factory-backed ZX-10R machinery he has at his disposal is ‘definitely’ capable of putting him on the podium again at the ‘World’s Fastest Road Race,’ which takes place from August 10-13.

“The Kawasakis have a proven pedigree against riders like Hutchy and Michael Dunlop and I’m really confident that they will suit the roads at Dundrod,” Hickman said.

“The bikes handle really well and I’m getting some great power out of them, so I’m fairly confident that the package I’ve got underneath me will put us on the podium for definite.

“This will only be my third year at the Ulster so I’ll still take my time even though I’ve actually won there already,” he added.

“It’s a really unique place; it’s the fastest road race in the world and I actually did over 133mph last year on the Superstock bike, which was pretty special. The roads around the Dundrod circuit just flow so, so well, making the riding so enjoyable and thrilling – I can’t wait to get back.

“No matter where I am I always try to better myself and push myself. Every circuit I go to is a new challenge for me and even if I know the circuit then I want to try to better myself from the year before, I never get bored.”

Hickman is part of a spectacular line-up headed by Isle of Man TT powers Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson, plus Bruce Anstey, last year’s hat-trick hero Lee Johnston, Conor Cummins and William Dunlop.

The 29-year-old has been switching between the BSB series and roads and although Hickman acknowledges the benefits of gaining more racing miles than some of his key rivals, he admits he has been finding it difficult to move between both disciplines this season.

“I’ve done a lot more riding than most of the guys thanks to the MCE British Superbikes which has been going really well,” he said.

“My first road race over at the North West was really good and I’m looking forward now to getting back on the bike at the Ulster Grand Prix.

“It might give me a bit of an advantage to keep riding and keep bike fit, but the two disciplines are very different so I do have some difficulty trying to transfer between the two. Maybe from the outside it doesn’t look like I have any but it is actually quite difficult.”

MCE Ulster GP Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, said he expects Hickman to build on his magnificent performances from 2015.

“Peter Hickman is an awesome rider who has made a big impact in a short time and I’m pretty excited to see what he has in his locker come Saturday 13th August.

“I think he’ll be in the mix for the Superpole qualifier for sure, pretty impressive given it’s only his third outing at Dundrod,” said Johnston.

“Hicky’s just a natural on two wheels and I think there’s a lot more success to come from him.”