Round 6 Brands Hatch
A wet and wild Qualifying kicked off the Brands Hatch weekend, a somewhat unusual grid forming up as a result. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) once again proved himself as one of the most adaptable riders on the British Superbike grid with fourth place, the leading BMW S 1000 RR for Race 1. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) made his return to racing after injury, easily qualifying inside the top ten and narrowly missing a Q3 spot.
Hickman roared off the line and was immediately with the leaders, the power of the BMW S 1000 RR also helping Iddon and new teammate Andy Reid (Tyco BMW) to gain places off the line.
The action around the Brands Hatch GP circuit was as fierce as ever, the entirety of the BSB field jostling for position as dark clouds loomed overhead. Hickman and Iddon put up a strong fight and were cemented in the top ten as rain began to fall on the sixth lap, coinciding with the deployment of the safety car for a crash.
Racing resumed and Hickman was right in the podium hunt again as the rain continued to spit, the battle intensifying as riders sensed a looming red flag. Hickman did his best to break away at the front, his BMW compatriot Iddon duking it out with title favourites Leon Haslam and Shane Byrne inside the top five.
The red flag did eventually come, ending the race on lap 19, results from lap 18 deciding the final standings. Unfortunately for Hickman, this meant a fourth-place finish – solid points but not the podium he had clearly shown the pace for. Eighth for Iddon was just reward on his comeback with Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW) completing the points in 15th.
Sun blessed Brands Hatch for Race 2, Iddon and Hickman getting lightning starts once again. Aggressive as ever, Iddon latched onto the leading five as Byrne sprinted away at the front. Although more spread out than Race 1, the pace was even faster and there were a number of falls as a result – no such issues for the leading BMWs of Hickman and Iddon.
The time between the two races allowed Iddon’s Tyco BMW team to make adjustments to his BMW S 1000 RR, the changes paying off as the former Supermoto champ returned to the podium with a brilliant third behind James Ellison.
A pair of fourth places keeps Hickman’s Showdown chances well and truly alive, despite the disappointment of missing the podium. 119 points have the TT podium finisher sixth overall and just ten points shy of Josh Brookes in fifth.
Pirelli National Superstock 1000
There was double podium delight for the BMW S 1000 RR in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 as Michael Rutter was again up in the mix on his Bathams machine. The ultra-experienced campaign crossed the line in second behind Richard Cooper with Chrissy Rouse completing the rostrum on the BMW S 1000 RR. On his return to the championship after a foray into the Superbike class, former champion Josh Elliott finished sixth aboard the Tyco BMW Motorrad bike – helping the BMW S 1000 RR to once again dominate the top ten.