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Peter Hickman: Bike racers value medics so I lit up my garage in NHS blue in a personal tribute

 

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Peter Hickman

Peter Hickman

Peter Hickman UGP

Peter Hickman UGP

Peter Hickman

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives. Today, we speak to Peter Hickman, the world's fastest road racer who clocked a lap record of 136.415mph at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod last August.

 

Q How are you keeping?

A: So far, so good thanks! I'm in a fortunate position really as unlike most other riders I do have other things going on so all this time not spent racing or riding bikes has given me time to do all the jobs that I usually never get around to doing or finishing.

Q How have you been affected?

A: Well, racing has stopped completely so at a time when we should be flat out into our season, motorcycle racers, like the rest of sport, are on hold until we hear it is safe to go back out again.

I was due to compete in the British Superbikes series, at the Isle of Man TT, the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix, my favourite road race where I won all seven races I started last year. I was also looking forward to mentoring young riders in the British Mini Bikes Championship on Italian Ohvale bikes which I import into Britain and Ireland.

I had a host of sponsor and PR commitments in the UK and Ireland around the start of the season which have also been cancelled.

I am down to ride in the Suzuka 8-hour race in Japan in July and it has not yet been officially cancelled but I'd rate it doubtful. If we are to get any racing at all this year, it will most likely be the Macau meeting in the Far East in November.

Q How are you keeping fit?

A: As long as I keep active then it's good for me. I'm lucky again that I'm quite naturally fit but I'll be out on my push bike once the weather picks up for sure. I had just joined a gym before everything locked down and had been going swimming so I've got that to look forward to.

Q How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?

A: The Smiths BMW team has been great. Obviously we are all in the same boat but there's nothing we, or anyone else, can do about it, so we all just get on with what we can. We have a WhatsApp group we use to keep in touch and, of course, there's a lot of paddock-style banter flying about.

My garage is right next to where I live, near Lough, in Lincolnshire, so I have been working on my bikes for next year. I've also bought a Norton which I am building and can't wait to get out on.

Q Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: Deep question! I have no idea, I guess I'm just not a worrier, so nothing really fazes or bothers me to be honest.

Q Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think stay at home sports fans might enjoy?

A: I don't watch much TV but was recently persuaded to watch F1 Drive to Survive on Netflix and it's really good. I'm not really into F1 - as much as the engineering and technology is amazing, the races are pretty meh! However, I'd recommend anyone to check out this one. It provides a fascinating insight into what goes on behind the scenes in racing in general, not just F1. I've also been playing the TT game on PlayStation just to get some virtual laps in instead of the real thing.

Q What life lessons are you learning from this crisis?

A: That life as we know it is very fragile. As a racer, I have always appreciated the work and skills of the medics who attend our meetings which could not take place without them so I have the utmost admiration for all the NHS staff battling the coronavirus pandemic in their own vital ways. I tried to show some personal support by lighting up my garage in NHS blue for the Thursday night clapping show of support.

 

Q What is the first thing you will do when all this is over?

A: Go to visit my mum and dad, who have been in isolation for a month. I have been unable to visit them, due to the restrictions. And then I will get out on any bike I can!

Q And your message to bike fans?

A: I just want to say a massive thanks for all the support, not just right now but in general... my fans are always amazing. People have been buying my merchandise from my eBay store and the messages have all been really positive on my social media platforms. So just a big thank you, please stay safe, and remember to wash your hands!

Belfast Telegraph