THE FHO Racing team returns from Donington Park with two more podiums after both Peter Hickman and Alex Olsen banked third places.
Hickman celebrated his second top three of the year in Saturday’s Bennetts British Superbike eBay Sprint race while Olsen was back on the rostrum in Sunday’s round of the Pirelli National Superstock Championship.
Hickman’s weekend got off to a good start as he qualified fourth on the grid for what was his 400th BSB race start and went on to bank third in the opening race. As a result of posting the fastest lap, he lined up on pole position for Sunday’s opening race.
But after a tough race where he had an electronics issue hit at the start and then a battle with tyre life, he crossed the line eighth. Then, in the third and final battle of the weekend, he struggled again with the tyres and despite running in the top six for most of the race, he dropped back in the closing laps to eventually take 11th.
Team-mate Ryan Vickers, meanwhile, enjoyed one of his best rounds of the year as he celebrated three top 10s.
Qualifying eighth, he picked up a 10th in the opening race and then lined up in eighth position for the second, where once again he had a strong race and finished 10th.
Despite starting the final race back in 14th, he got a good start and was quickly up into the top 10. As his confidence grew he picked up a handful more places – and even made a pass on Hickman on the final lap to eventually cross the line eighth.
In the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, FHO Racing with Kobelco rider Alex Olsen bounced back from a troublesome opening race where he was hit by arm pump on the final lap and finished sixth.
For the second race, he started from the second row and forced his way through a number of riders after dropping a couple of places at the start to eventually work his way up to third. Despite missing out on the championship, he is still in the fight for the runner-up spot at the next round.
Team-mate Jack Nixon continues to recover from a broken collarbone in August and managed to pick up a 13th in the opening race followed by a 17th in the second.
Despite feeling disappointed, he knows he still has some way in his recovery to go to get back to full strength and fitness and is looking forward to some down time at home as he continues his recovery.
Peter Hickman, Superbike:
R1: P3, R2: P8, R3: P11
“It’s been a bit of an unusual weekend, the good news is we’ve been fast. It was great to get third in Saturday’s race, we’d qualified well, it was a good race and we had hoped for the same on Sunday but it was a bit of a strange one.
“In the first we had an electronic problem right off the start. I should’ve been in second place going into Craner on the first lap but it hit straight away and I was a little bit tentative for the first few laps and lost a few places. Then towards the end I struggled with the tyres, the rear was shot really early which we didn’t expect.
“In race three I struggled with tyre life again. We made some changes to try and make it better but it didn’t help, which is unusual for us. I should’ve been seventh but Ryan got excited on the last corner and passed. He didn’t touch me but I had to go on the grass and ended up 11th which wasn’t great but it’s just one of those things.”
Ryan Vickers, Superbike
R1: P10, R2: P10, R3: P8
“I’m really happy with the weekend. We qualified well and started on the third row in eighth which was good. I had hoped to make a good start but didn’t so had to work hard but I rode a really good race which filled me with confidence and I ended up 10th.
“In race two we started further back but I got a better start, I found myself in the fight and didn’t lose any ground so I was pleased. I got another p10 but I was happy with how I rode, my pace was strong.
“In the last race I had a great first lap and was in the battle with the proper people, the Showdown guys and race winners and we were right in the mix. The bike felt good, everything was working well and I got eighth and made a pass on Pete. I’m feeling really good, we’ve made good progress and I’m really excited for Brands Hatch now to see if we can keep pushing in the right direction.”
Alex Olsen, Superstock
R1: P6, R2: P3
“The weekend as a whole has been good, we’ve been fast but at the end of the day just not fast enough. The first race was tough and then in the second I got a bit boxed in at the start so had to work my way up.
“I took a few chances and made a few big moves to make my way back to third – sorry to Tom Ward I probably sent him a bit wide but I was fighting for the championship.
“Fair play to Davey, he’s won it now. He’s done a great job all year. Now we have to fight on to try and get second in the championship as we roll into Brands Hatch. Hopefully we can pick up more points and claim second.”
Jack Nixon, Superstock
R1: P13, R2: P17
“It’s been another struggle of a weekend. The pace was definitely faster in the second race so that’s definitely a positive. I’ve just made a few mistakes , I just haven’t been able to stop the bike how I’d like and I’m also really sore still.
“I struggled at the end of the races and in the second I started running a bit deep when the tyre dropped off and losing time and places which wasn’t ideal. It’s hard because I’m probably expecting too much of myself after the injury.
“I want to regroup now and get some fitness back for Brands Hatch. It’ll be nice to have a week off before then so I’ll see if I can rebuild a bit more and come back strong and finish the season well.”
Team Principal Faye Ho:
“Well, it’s been another busy weekend for the team but the good thing is we’ve had no crashes from any of the riders so that’s a good start.
“It was fantastic to see Pete back on the podium again on Saturday, we really have not been up there enough this year so it was a bit of good news and something to celebrate.
“Ryan has also had a good weekend, three top 10s and he’s definitely feeling a lot happier than he has in a while. I know Pete wanted a bit more but there’s one round left to try.
“In Superstock, again it was great to see Alex back on the podium. I know he’s disappointed that the championship is now gone but we can still fight for second and that’s what he wants to do. It’ll be nice if he can win at Brands Hatch.
“Jack is still on the mend, I know he’s frustrated but fitness can’t be rushed. We hope he can relax a bit over the next 10 days and, like the whole team, come back fighting at Brands to try and end the season on a high note.”