While most of their rivals were having a weekend off before the opening practice sessions for the Vauxhall International North West 200 tomorrow, Peter Hickman and newcomer Davey Todd were racing in two very contrasting two-wheel events.
Hickman competed in the World Endurance Championship 8-hour race at the Slovakia Ring and Cookstown BE rider Todd took part in the Irish championship motocross meeting at Tandragee MX Park.
Hickman, the fastest ever newcomer at the North West four years ago, missed 2015 through injury, returning in 2016 to secure podiums in Superstock and Supersport races.
Last year saw no podiums at the Triangle, but five runner-up finishes at the TT and four wins at the Ulster Grand Prix/Dundrod 150 show the skill of the Lincoln rider and his Smiths Racing BMW.
His trip to Slovakia for Saturday’s race resulted in a fine fourth position alongside his NRT48 BMW team mates Stefan Kerschbaumer and Kenny Foray, the first BMW team home, covering 222 laps just two behind the race winners, F.C.C. TSR Honda.
Hickman said: “I’m looking forward to the North West now and feel we, as a team, are in a better place than this time last year and to win is the objective, but then that is every riders plan!”
Todd on the other hand is a mere novice compared to Hickman, making his roads debut at Skerries last July. His ability was spotted by Cookstown team boss John Burrows, who has an eye for talented riders, and for 2018 a deal was completed.
Top 10 finishes at the Cookstown 100, including third position in the Supertwin class, were followed by an unlucky Tandragee 100 where machine problems hindered his progress.
A multi discipline competitor Todd has this season raced in British Supermoto, road races, short circuits and at the weekend underlined his versatility by racing in the semi-expert MX2 class at the Irish championship meeting, finishing seventh overall on his Yamaha so keep an eye out for number 74 at the North West 200 this week.
The Irish Championship Motocross third round at Tandragee saw Lisburn’s Richard Bird (FivefiveMotorsport KTM) dominate the Premier MX1 class getting the better of Loughbrickland’s John Meara (Kawasaki) in all three races.
Meara’s younger brother Jason won all three Premier MX2 races, the first easily from Glenn McCormick (both KTM mounted) after the Glenoe rider had tipped off but races two and three were crackers.
It was Meara’s turn to slip off in race two at the first turn, pick up his machine and charge after the field catching McCormick at half race distance, going on to win by under a second, with another of the Meara clan, Callum third overall.
Race three saw the leading two riders nose to tail for the 20-minute duration of the race Meara holding off McCormick by less than half a second.
Further afield in Kegums, Latvia, two fourth place finishes by Ballyclare’s Martin Barr was enough to hold onto the lead of the European 250cc Motocross Championship by two points from his Revo Husqvarna team mate Mel Pocock.