THE FHO Racing BMW team just missed out on two podium finishes at a tough third round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park.
But the team is returning to its Lincolnshire HQ keen to get to the bottom of an electronics issue which blighted the final race for both Superbike riders Peter Hickman and Ryan Vickers, forcing them both to retire.
After a ninth place in Saturday’s race, Hickman narrowly missed out on a podium in Sunday’s opener, as he brought his M 1000 R home fourth, but his hopes of bettering it in the final battle were dashed when he was hit with an electronic problem and pulled in.
Team-mate Vickers qualified 10th for the first race but crashed out on lap two. Starting 16th in the second, he had a strong race and made up several places to finish ninth. However, he too was forced to retire from the final race with a similar issue to Hickman.
In the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, FHO Racing with Kobelco riders Alex Olsen and Jack Nixon also had an up and down weekend.
In the opening race, Olsen came through from sixth on the grid to just miss out on a podium as he finished fourth. Getting the fastest lap, he lined up on pole for the second race but suffered a different technical issue and had to retire on lap five.
Nixon, meanwhile, managed to bring home two top 10s despite a dramatic race on Saturday where he was handed a drive through penalty for a jump start, rejoined near the back, pulled off a huge save when he hit fluid dropped by another rider yet still finished 10th. In the second, he finished ninth.
Peter Hickman, Superbike
R1: 9th R2: 4th R3: Retired
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend, we had a fourth place in the second race which was good but obviously I’d have preferred a podium, but other than that it’s been a tricky one.
“Of course it’s frustrating, it’s frustrating for me, for the team, for everyone but it is what it is and now what is important is getting to the bottom of it and finding out what is going on.
“We’ve just got to move on. I’m heading out to the TT this week and that’s where my head has to be now. But I know the team is very committed to solving this issue and I hope we’ll be back to strength by the time we get to Knockhill.”
Ryan Vickers, Superbike
R1: DNF R2: 9th R3: Retired
“I qualified 10th and wasn’t far off the top guys so felt really good going into the race but then I had a strange crash which we think we’ve figured out. We made a few changes and I was quite happy with the second result – from 16th I made it up to ninth, my first top 10 in the dry so that was good.
“Then we had race three, I started 12th which was much better and I got a good start and felt strong, I was just managing tyres and trying to ride a really smart race and the safety car came out.
“I saw Pete pull in and then a few laps later I had to do the same as I started to suffer with an issue which I believe was the same as Pete’s and had to retire. But, taking the positives, we’ve learnt a lot, I feel a lot better on the bike, it feels like mine now and I can’t wait to try again at Knockhill.
Alex Olsen, Superstock
R1: 4th R2: Retired
“The weekend has been one to forget although we have shown good pace and what we can do – we just didn’t get the results to go with it unfortunately.
“Race One was quite good, we settled into a good rhythm unfortunately a red flag came out just as we got into third and closed down the leaders and was looking at a pass.
“At the restart unfortunately we got a bit duffed up, got to front again and had a few moves and lunges and got a bit duffed up again and ended fourth. We got the fastest lap of the race which meant we started the second from pole.
“We settled into the race and felt comfortable but then after a few laps we had technical problem which forced us to retire. It was disappointing but it’s one of those things. We move on.”
Jack Nixon, Superstock
R1: 10th R2: 9th
“It has been a positive weekend as it was my first time here on the big bike so it was always going to be a bit challenging. On Friday we found the pace fairly quickly and kept chipping away every session but then race one was a bit of a rollercoaster.
“I had a jump start, had my ride through and went back to 30th and then had that save which was crazy. The race was stopped, I started 24th and came back to 10th so I was happy.
“In the second, we got a good start but I jolted my arm in the save the day before so I had a bit of pain which caused a bit of a problem. I did manage to get another top 10 though so I’m happy with that. I’m looking forward to the break now and to come back strong at Knockhill.”
Team Principal Faye Ho:
“It’s been a long and a hard weekend for everyone in the team. Everyone has worked so hard and unfortunately the results do not reflect this nor the effort everyone has put in.
“In the final Superbike race both riders retired with an electronics issue which we suspect is down to a faulty component we need to investigate and that is our priority now. At this point we don’t know what Alex’s issue was but we will get to the bottom of it this week.
“We did get two fourths and while I know the boys were a bit disappointed to miss out on a podium, it’s racing. We have to look at where we are and work on these issues as a priority but I’m certain we will be back fighting next time out.”