The FHO Racing BMW team endured a tough weekend at Donington Park for the penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship; however, despite the tricky conditions they delivered a haul of top ten finishes ahead of the season finale in two weeks’ time.
Peter Hickman was again struck by bad luck during the weekend following a promising start to the weekend, proving his pace in free practice but the Lincolnshire rider missed out when it came to the races.
Hickman was caught out by the wet and cold conditions in the opening race of the weekend, before he fought back in race two to be battling with the leading pack until a snapped chain put him out of the action. A determined ride through the pack in the final race meant he scored valuable points in seventh place, heading into the final round in sixth place in the overall standings and trailing Danny Buchan ahead of him by just two points.
Joe Francis meanwhile had a positive weekend with FHO Racing BMW, scoring a pair of top ten finishes, securing a best result of sixth place on his debut onboard the team’s BMW M 1000 RR.
Brian McCormack had his best result of the season in the opening race, finishing in 15th place to score his first championship point for the Roadhouse Macau by FHO Racing BMW team.
In the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, Alex Olsen missed out on the podium with a fifth place in the opening race, before a damage limitation ride in race two to cross the line in ninth place. There is now a 23-point deficit with one race remaining, whilst he trails second place in the overall standings by just a single point ahead of his home round at Brands Hatch.
Peter HickmanR1: DNF, R2: DNF, R3: 7th
“That was a proper tough weekend for myself and the FHO Racing BMW team. As seems to have been the way for the last few rounds, Friday went awesome and I felt really comfortable and felt we had some good pace.
“The rain came on Saturday and that wasn’t ideal as I couldn’t find the feeling that I wanted and I just didn’t have the confidence to do what I needed to do. I feel like we have work to do when it is wet. I build up in qualifying, but I felt better and my last lap was faster and I was improving.
“Going into the race I felt ok, but the bike felt different in the race and I tried to settle in, and was sat behind Jason as it was going to be a bit of attrition. The bike let go and fired me over the handlebars and I wasn’t expecting it, so I was really disappointed as it wasn’t ideal when I wasn’t pushing hard and the team did a great job to get the FHO Racing BMW back together again for the morning.
“On Sunday the race was dry and I was making headway and up to sixth and in touching distance of the front group despite being down the grid at the start because of race one. The chain snapped and hit me in the back of the leg; it is obviously a really unusual thing to happen and I was lucky. I was gutted as we had pace for the podium and to challenge for the win. It was disappointing as the bike has been faultless all year.
“Race three it rained again and the organisers did a great job to wait and then get it started; I rode around and I just wanted to finish and score points. I was fairly happy with the result in the end, and my odd weekends seem to continue! I have to thank the FHO Racing BMW team for their hard work over the weekend and look to do a good job at Brands Hatch.”
Joe Francis: R1: 6th, R2: DNF, R3: 9th
“The weekend was spot on and it was great to have been given the opportunity to ride the FHO Racing BMW. I got some dry laps under my belt on Friday and we made it through Q1 into Q2 to keep making progress. I then had my first experience on the bike in the wet and I manage to qualify in seventh, which I was really happy with.
“In race one it was a crazy race and I managed to bring it home in sixth which was a great first race for me with the team. On Sunday, I got a good start and settling into a rhythm before a technical issue put us out, but that was nobody’s fault. I started 15th in the third race and I just wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid, so two top ten finishes was a good weekend for me.
“I have to thank the FHO Racing BMW team for giving me the opportunity and a great package during the weekend.”
Brian McCormack: R1: 15th, R2: 20th, R3: DNF
“It was a hard weekend for everyone with the weather and we had a good run in qualifying. Race one was difficult but we scored our first point so that was really good. I have an old injury which is hampering me a bit at the moment, especially in the dry conditions so I need to get that fixed over the winter.
“It was a hard weekend but also a positive one overall and I need to thank the Roadhouse Macau by FHO Racing BMW team for their hard work. Hopefully we can push on again at Brands Hatch for the final round.”
Alex Olsen R1: 5th, R2: 9th
“The weekend didn’t start too bad as we managed to claw back the championship points gap in the first race, so heading into race two, I really needed to make sure I got in front and just concentrate on a win or at least a podium finish. That would have put me within a chance of going to Brands Hatch with a better chance of winning.
“Unfortunately the race didn’t go to plan as I was still suffering from a similar issue that we have had for a few rounds. We managed to secure some points and still keep the championship fight alive going into my home round. The team are working hard, so I hope we can come out fighting at the final round. All we can do is try and fight for the win and see what happens.”
Faye Ho – Team Owner
“That really was a crazy weekend! Once again, Pete seemed to be really unlucky, although a seventh place finish was valuable points for the championship, and although he has a points gap, he can still move further up the standings at Brands Hatch as we know anything can happen in this sport.
“Joe rode really well to consistently improve and take two top ten finishes, which wasn’t easy with mixed conditions on his first weekend, whilst I was happy for Brian to take his first point in the toughest of conditions in race one.
“Alex is still in championship contention and we are looking forward to see what happens at Brands Hatch.
“I want to thank the entire team for their efforts during the weekend as the mixed conditions make it very difficult but together we worked hard to achieve the results.”