Foto Friday: Peter Hickman – Why I Road Race
A picture is worth a thousand words but the memories of a picture can be even more important. What does a picture mean to you and what does the moment captured mean?
We’ve already seen what it feels like to win a race or what it feels like to race on the roads but this week Peter Hickman reflects on what it’s like to turn around your career…
Peter Hickman is the fastest Road Racer in the world. When all things are equal he’s the man to beat. It wasn’t always like this for the Lincolnshire native. His career was one with the odds stacked against him and he only ventured to the roads to try and salvage his career. In 2014 Hickman was at a crossroads; pay for a ride or take to the roads.
“I went road racing because I just wanted to keep riding,” reflects Hickman on his decision. “At the time it was the only way I could keep racing without brining a big cheque book to a team. I didn’t have the money to do that so I had to find another way. My goal was always to stay in the British Championship because and the roads were a way of being able to keep doing that.
“I didn’t fancy doing the Irish national stuff, but I fancied the big races. The Northwest 200, the TT, the Ulster and Macau that was what I was looking at. It turned out that I’m alright at it and I ended up getting a good BSB ride from it. I’ve never really looked back since then. With a decent BSB ride, I was able to actually win a race too.”
Hickman immediately showed his ability to learn and understand Road Racing. His Isle of Man TT debut in 2014 astounded the paddock. Hickman, a midfield BSB runner at the time, was running at 129mph by the end of the fortnight. He was a diamond in the rough and suddenly in demand for 2015. Having plenty of big bike experience helped Hickman’s transition to the roads but it was his mindset that really helped establish himself from the outset.
“When I first raced on the roads I felt that I was mature enough for it. I was 27 and had been riding big bikes for ten years. I’d ridden Superstock and Superbike, and I felt that I had more than enough experience. I was more than mature enough to not ride like a dickhead and to keep myself alive. Would I have raced earlier than that? Probably not.
“I’m not sure whether people should race earlier than that either. I learned my craft on short circuits, which are pretty safe, where if you crash 99% of the time, absolutely fine. Road races aren’t like that and if you make mistakes on roads there can be massive consequences. I had a safety buffer on short circuits that let you push beyond the limit. If you get it wrong you can understand why and learn from it. It’s the same reason why more guys from the roads are racing in BSB now. Racing on the roads isn’t about riding at 95% because you still need to push at 100% but you do it in a different way.”
Hickman has certainly gone about things in a different way and it’s paid off big time for him.