Belfast Telegraph

Hickman delighted as he leads BMW roads charge

 

On the move: Peter Hickman on the Smiths Racing BMW
On the move: Peter Hickman on the Smiths Racing BMW

By Roy Harris

In a blow for Hector and Philip Neill's TAS BMW team, it was announced during the NEC Motorcycle Live Show in Birmingham yesterday that Smiths Racing and Peter Hickman will be the official BMW Motorrad UK team for the 2020 road racing season.

While Tyco BMW have struggled on the roads recently, Hickman and Smiths BMW have swept all before them, their latest feat winning seven races from seven starts at the Ulster Grand Prix (including a Supersport double on the Trooper Beer Triumph) and raising the Dundrod lap record to an amazing 136.415mph.

Michael Dunlop was the last 'big winner' for the Moneymorebased TAS team when he won the 2018 Superbike TT and although he rode for the Tyco BMW team again this season he was hampered by a testing injury prior to the NW 200 and then by a nasty high-side during the Southern 100 and was below par for the rest of the season, bar a spectacular double at Armoy Road Races just over a fortnight after his Isle of Man crash.

It will be interesting to see which direction Michael's racing takes in 2020 and a return to the Paul Bird fold on the Ducati V4 Panigale for the North West and TT cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Meanwhile Hickman said: "After the efforts of the last few years the team thoroughly deserve this reward and it's exciting times ahead for all of us."

There was no mention of a roads campaign from TAS Racing as they announced a brand-new look for their British Superbike Championship team for 2020 with Brad Ray, a previous BSB winner and a showdown contender, joining the team after three seasons with Buildbase Suzuki and 2019 Superstock 1000cc championship runner-up Taylor Mackenzie signing for the team, which will have BMW Motorrad support.

Meanwhile, Keith Farmer, whose 2019 season ended in a Knockhill gravel trap when he fell from his Tyco BMW, has announced he will join forces with Buildbase Suzuki alongside GP2 British champion Kyle Ryde in a British Superbike championship challenge in 2020.

Farmer said: "Last season started well, but the Knockhill crash at the end of June was pretty significant and put me out for the rest of the season. I've done everything I can to keep fit and get back to full fitness. I've been in the gym, cycling, physio, been back on my Supermoto bike and even changed my diet, so I'm excited for next season."

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