THE FHO Racing team saved its best until last as it ended the season with a Bennetts British Superbike win and two further podiums at Brands Hatch.
As the 2022 season drew to a close at the iconic Kent track, Peter Hickman celebrated his first BSB win of the year on Sunday, securing the Riders Cup – the trophy awarded to the top scoring rider outside The Showdown.
Just days after announcing he has re-signed for Faye Ho’s squad in 2023, Hickman picked up his third podium of the season as he crossed the line second in Saturday’s race.
But more was to come on Sunday, as he got a strong start from third on the grid, taking the lead on lap three and led the whole way to the flag, eventually taking his first win of the year by 0.622secs ahead of fellow BMW pilot Danny Buchan. A fifth in the third race followed as he struggled with grip in the latter half of the race.
Ryan Vickers’ final round with FHO Racing proved to be a bit up and down but he finished the year with a points finish. Starting the weekend well, Vickers qualified 16th and was running 12th in the first race when he tangled with another rider on the final lap and crashed out.
The team worked hard to get his BMW M 1000 RR ready for Sunday’s opening race, but it ended in an early retirement as he pulled into the garage. However, he was back out for the final battle later in the afternoon, riding a strong race to cross the line 13th.
In the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, FHO Racing with Kobelco rider Alex Olsen was also back on the podium. After dominating day one by being fastest in both sessions, Olsen qualified third for the race.
Hitting the front at turn one of the opening lap, the pace was hot all race long as he found himself in a three-way scrap for victory. The battle went all the way to the line, with Olsen just missing out on the win by a mere 0.304secs as he crossed the line third, to claim third overall in the championship.
Team-mate Jack Nixon’s weekend sadly didn’t end as he’d hoped as he continues his recovery from a broken collarbone. After a strong start, the 2021 Junior Superstock champion qualified 13th for the race.
Picking up three places on lap one, Nixon was running well inside the top 10 by lap seven but unfortunately crashed out as he was sizing up a move for ninth. His race ended in the gravel but he was unhurt.
Peter Hickman, Superbike:
R1: P2, R2: P1, R3: P5
“Better late than never is the saying I think! I’m super, super happy for Faye and all the team, the boys have worked so hard all year and to actually reward them with a proper race win – it wasn’t wet or anything, it was a proper full dry race – is the best way to end the year.
“I genuinely don’t have a lot of goals but one of the things I’ve said I wanted to do was win a big bike race at the TT and a British Superbike race in the same year – and we’ve done it. This team is incredible, this is for them.
“When you don’t make The Showdown, there’s not a lot to play for apart from wins and we’ve managed that and we’ve also won the Riders Cup and ended up top BMW in the championship.
“We’ve ended the year well and I just want to thank everyone at FHO Racing for getting me here. This one’s for the whole team.”
Ryan Vickers, Superbike
R1: DNF, R2: DNF, R3: P13
“It’s been a tricky weekend but I was pleased to end the year with a points finish, even it wasn’t necessarily where we wanted to be. We started okay, we had a good run in FP1 but then it rained so we lost second practice and I think we suffered from that.
“Qualifying wasn’t great, we should’ve been higher up but I got a reasonable start in the first race and was in the battle for 11th at the end. Unfortunately, Christian Iddon and I got a bit caught up on the last lap after he’d had a bit of a slide, we sort of tangled together and went off.
“In race two we just didn’t have the best of luck, the bike didn’t feel right and a few problems hit and in the end I retired. The last race was a bit better, I started 21st and fought back to 13th so I am not too unhappy with that.
“I want to thank everyone at FHO Racing for a top job all year. It’s been tough at times but the team has been brilliant and by my side the whole time. It’s been really nice and I’ve enjoyed the year.”
Alex Olsen, Superstock
“What can I say? It’s been a mega weekend, we’ve been fastest in every session, it’s a shame we didn’t put it on pole in qualifying but we did everything we could in the race.
“I had a good start but at the end just got beaten by the Honda. We did all we could, I used everything in the tank and it was great to get a podium. It’s a good way to end the season, and I’m happy I’ve been able to give my team a final podium.
“All good things must come to an end and it’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of the FHO family for the last two years. I just want to thank everyone in the team, everyone involved and of course Faye for giving me the best bike ever.”
Jack Nixon, Superstock
“It’s a shame we only had one race this weekend, it would’ve been nice to finish the year off with two because we could’ve been strong here. I’ve been able to get back into a better place with my fitness following my injury and I felt really good on the bike.
“I got a good start, I was on the fifth row but I knew I could do something good from there. I’d made a few moves and was settling into the race when I hit a false neutral, couldn’t stop and just tucked the front. I’m fine and the main thing is I felt good on the bike and was having a go.
“It has been an up and down year but I’ve gained a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge so I can take that moving forward and build from there. I’d like to thank the team for being incredible all year.”
Faye Ho, Team Principal:
“What a way to end the year! Seeing Pete back on the top step of the podium was the best way to finish what has, at times, been a very challenging season for all of us.
“It’s been clear over the last three rounds that we’ve made huge strides forward with the Superbike and Pete proved that, qualifying on the front row, getting a win and a second place. Of course, we’d have all liked to have come good earlier in the year but the main thing is we got there and it now means we go into the winter knowing what we can achieve next year.
“Ryan had a tough weekend again but came out with a points finish at the end and that was a good way for him to end the season. We’ve enjoyed having him with us and will miss him next year, we wish him well wherever he goes.
“The Superstock team has also been brilliant this weekend. Alex just missed out on the runner-up spot in the championship but he had a great race and was there until the end. Jack was unlucky but it was good to see him back to full fitness and pushing.
“All in all, it’s been a challenging year but we’ve got here. I’m so proud of everyone in my team, they’ve worked tirelessly and around the clock all year. We’ve ended our second season with a win and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved. Thank you all.”