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Peter Hickman And Josh Brookes TargSuperbike Success With Fho Racing BMW At 2023 fonaCab And Nicholl Oils North West 200

north west 200 Apr 01, 2023
North West 200 2023

Peter Hickman, the outright lap record holder at the fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200, and his new FHO BMW Racing team-mate, Josh Brookes visited the north coast circuit today ahead of May 7-13 race week.

Hickman, who was already the fastest rider around the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix circuits, set the new North West mark of 124.7999mph on the FHO M1000RR machine during last year’s Anchor Bar Superbike race to complete a full set of record speeds at all three of the premier international road races. 

“It is nice to have the full set.” Hickman smiled after a sighting lap of the 8.9 mile Triangle course with Brookes.

“And it came during a meeting when things weren’t going to plan for me at all. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong last year!”

The 35 year old had been at the front of the opening Superbike race pack on the first lap when he hit neutral on the approach to University corner and ran straight on. After setting the new record lap he worked his way back up to sixth place and was just about to pass Josh Brookes when his rear Dunlop tyre delaminated along the high speed run to University.

“I was doing 197mph when the tyre let go.” he recalled.

Dunlop suffered problems with some of their tyres at last year’s North West, eventually forcing the withdrawal of all the riders who were running their rubber from the final Superbike event.  

“At the time I didn’t know anything about the problems Dunlop were experiencing with their tyres and that other riders had suffered the same thing.” Hickman explained.

There was just this massive vibration.” he said, dismissing the incident as typical of his luck at the north coast event where he is still chasing his first Superbike race win despite claiming Superstock wins in 2018 and 2019. 

“Every time I am in a position to win it seems that something goes wrong.” he smiled ruefully.

“One year I even had a stone go through a hose which just doesn’t happen.”
The world’s fastest road racer, who made his NW200 debut in 2014, intends to put that right in 2023.

“I want to win a superbike race here.” he said.

“I’ve come here so long now and never done it. I’ve got to pull the finger out and do it. We have the pace to win, we just need to get all the stars to align and then maybe I can beat the home hero, Glenn Irwin!”

Alongside his outings in the Superbike and Superstock races on the FHO Racing BMWs this year, Hickman will also line up on a Trooper Beer 675cc Triumph in the Supersport events and a R7 Yamaha in his own Peter Hickman Racing livery in the Supertwins races. Last year’s Twins race winner, Pierre Yves Bian, will partner the Burton on Trent racer aboard a Paton in the PHR squad.

Hickman will also face the challenge of BSB teammate, Josh Brookes, in the Superbike and Superstock events at Portrush. The Australian has also been a former NW200 outright lap record holder after setting a new mark in just his second appearance at the event in 2014 aboard a Milwaukee liveried Yamaha. 

“I was dicing with Michael Dunlop in the last superbike race when I ran on to the grass at Mather’s chicane.” the former double BSB champion recalled.

“I set the new lap record as I was chasing Michael back.”

That was the Bringelly rider’s last outing at the north coast races until last season when he returned on a PBM Ducati Panigale, finishing on the podium in the feature Merrow Hotel Superbike race.

“I was thinking that there might be some changes to the course but as soon as I got back out again I felt as if I’d never left.” the 39 year old said.

“It was a pleasant surprise.”
Brookes will also ride a superstock spec M1000RR BMW this year alongside his superbike outings as he adjusts to the German machine he last raced in the World Superbike series during 2016.

“I’ve been riding and racing over the winter in Australiaso I’ve had some time to adapt to the BMW.” the 2015 and 2020 British Superbike champion explained.

“The bike has a new engine this year which has very different characteristics.”

Brookes is confident he can give teammate Hickman, who has much more experience on the M1000RR, a run for his money at Portrush.

“It isn’t a case of wait and see how it goes.” Brookes said.

“I know that I can race competitively alongside Peter at the North West. The target has to be to win races. I was on the podium last year, Peter set a new outright lap record on the BMW and the bike is even better now so I don’t think that is unrealistic.

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