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Hickman on the roads for first time at NW200

By Paul Lindsay

British Superbike star Peter Hickman will make his pure road racing debut at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May, riding with the Ice Valley/Motorsave BMW team.

The 26-year-old, who is yet to secure a British championship ride this season, will take in the Superbike and Superstock classes aboard S1000RR machinery at the Triangle.

"The North West will be my first ever road race," confirmed Hickman.

"I have always been interested in the roads and I think this is now the right time in my career to give it a go.

"I have a lot of experience and am mature enough now as a rider," said Hickman, who has been competing in British championship since 2004.

The former National Superstock Cup champion will also take in the Isle of Man TT this year as a high profile newcomer with the Ice Valley team, where he will not only tap into the experience of team owner Paul Shoesmith but also that of his father David, who rode at the North West and Manx Grand Prix in the late seventies.

Explaining his aspirations for the season ahead at the NW200 and TT, the Staffordshire rider added: "At the moment I don't have a BSB ride.

"As it stands, the only racing that I am doing in 2014 will be on the roads.

"I think the North West and TT go hand in hand, and you can't really do one without doing the other. I talked to a few teams before joining Paul's Ice Valley squad and they all wanted me to do both events."

Hickman is also great friends with North West 200 course specialist Michael Rutter, and is fully intent on bending his mate's ear for advice.

"Oh I'll definitely be bending Michael's ear," he joked.

"I've watched the on-boards and I can see that North West starts are a lot scarier than BSB, but I won't be pushing too hard and I won't be making any rash moves."

Discussing his father's input he said: "Dad worked as a mechanic with Robert Dunlop during his days on the Norton and he also spannered for Phillip McCallen in the Castrol Honda team."

Like any newcomer to the North West, Hickman admits that he will be nervous on his first laps of the high-speed sections of the 8.9-mile Triangle course.

"I am more excited than nervous though," he smiled.

"I am looking forward to going flat out for long periods of time, which is something that I have never experienced before.

"The run down to Metropole looks mega and passing lamp posts at 200mph will be a bit different for me."

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