A sit down with Peter Hickman
Auto Finesse products are designed to work across all manner of vehicles, and that even includes British Superbike Championship (BSB) winning motorbikes. That's why we thought it'd be cool to speak to professional motorcycle racer Peter Hickman about what he does and how he keeps his bike looking tip-top.
FOR THOSE THAT DON'T KNOW YOU, WHO IS PETER HICKMAN?
I'm a professional motorcycle racer and I currently ride for the Smiths BMW Racing Team in the BSB Championship, as well as the international road races at the Northwest 200, Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
Ever since I was a kid I've wanted to race a motorbike. My dad was a professional racer (way before I was born, mind) and after he retired from injury he became a development engineer and crew chief/head mechanic. So, when I was growing up I was around racing a fair bit. However, he didn't want me racing at all and pushed me towards football, golf, cricket etc. - basically anything low risk and high earning. So, my answer to that was, I bought my own bike in a wheelbarrow full of bits when I was 12 and hid it round the back of the house until I could find the courage to ask him to help me build it. I've never looked back since and he's been with me every step of the way. Bike racing is the most powerful drug in the world and once you start, that's it, you're hooked. The thrill is like nothing else.
HOW WAS 2017 FOR YOU?
2017 was great. I started the year strong in the BSB Championship, with a 4th and 8th at round one. I've been in the Top 10 every race - something that's extremely hard to achieve in this championship. My road racing has been going great too. The Northwest 200 was a little average for me, but myself and the Smiths team turned that around at the TT with four podiums from four races with them. I also took another podium in the lightweight class with the KMR IEG Kawasaki team. Making my TT five races and five podiums - not many people have ever done that in its 110-year history - it's a great achievement.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
The five TT podiums from five races this year is definitely a highlight, especially as it was only my 4th year there. Winning the 2015 Macau Grand Prix at the first time of trying was amazing. Winning the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015 at my second attempt was awesome. I did a one-off wildcard ride for Suzuki in 2012 at the Donnington Park World Superbike race and finished 9th. Winning at BSB Championship for the first time at Cadwell Park, my home race, was unreal, too. There's been so many highlights - too many to list!
DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR FAVOURITE BIKE?
In terms of all-time favourite bikes, I'd have to pick any of the 500cc GP era - proper bikes! For bikes I've actually ridden myself, it's a tough one. The Suzuki I rode for the WSB wild card was pretty awesome, but more recently I rode the new BMW HP4 Race bike, which has a carbon frame and carbon wheels - a truly special bit of kit. I got to ride the first ever one produced around the TT course for two laps this year and loved it.
Future plans are to keep racing in the BSB Championship, as well as doing the major international road races.
FINALLY, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR PRODUCTS FOR YOUR BIKE YOU'D RECOMMEND?
My team use a range of products for our bikes. Recommendations really would be anything to do with crash protection, in case you're unfortunate enough to drop your pride and joy. But, generally, anything that will remove bugs or tar - the cleaner your bike is the better it will serve you, and you're more likely to notice any small problems before they turn into bigger problems!