Belfast Telegraph

Peter Hickman is aiming to make up for lost time and flourish at the North West 200

By Paul Lindsay

Peter Hickman arrives at this year's Vauxhall International North West 200 as the event's fastest ever newcomer, but this year the JG Speedfit Kawasaki British Superbike star will be gunning for top step honours in all classes on May 12 and 14.

The Burton-on-Trent rider missed the 2015 event through injury but he will make his return this year with entries in the Superbike, Superstock, Supersport and Supertwin classes.

"It will be a busy week," said the 29-year-old who will make his debut in the Supertwins class on the Cookstown B.E Racing ER6 Kawasaki.

Having joined the JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad for the BSB series during the winter, Hickman will ride ZX10R machinery in the Superbike and Superstock races and a ZX6-R Kawasaki in both 600cc races.

"I should certainly have plenty of track time this year," he laughed.

Hickman will be returning to the North West on the crest of a wave having triumphed in the opening BSB round of the 2016 season at Silverstone. The lofty Lincolnshire resident outshone his high-profile team-mates Leon Haslam and James Ellison, firmly proving he is as fast on the short circuit scene as he was on the roads in 2015.

Victories at the Ulster and Macau Grands Prix and a 131mph lap at the TT last season make him the man to watch this year and he now wants to leave his mark at Portrush.

"I missed the North West last year because of injuries and in my first year I wasn't race sharp or race ready," he said.

"I was really rusty and still managed to finish in the top 10. Hopefully this year I will be able to turn up race sharp and really attack it, a bit like I did at the Ulster last year. It would be nice to win. It is only my second year at the NW200, but it is definitely a possibility."

Hickman also feels that the nature of the North West course suits his short circuit honed style. Tackling a subject that has caused controversy recently, the BSB star is adamant that the chicane-littered 8.9-mile Triangle course gives riders who do most of their racing in the British short circuit scene a distinct advantage.

"Road racers have a very different style of riding and they don't generally brake late and deep into corners." Hickman explained.

"They tend to brake a bit earlier and run through the corners. You can't really do that at the North West because of the chicanes. You can do it at other corners but not at the chicanes and that definitely means the short circuit experience can help you a lot."

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