While it’s freezing cold in Europe and the race season is obviously taking a break, there’s something interesting going on on the other side of the world.
The Suzuki Tri-Series in New Zealand attracts local riders as well as international stars every year and this time the special guest is no other than the world’s fastest road racer: Peter Hickman. While spending a few days in a new Country, Hicky is learning new tracks and making people take note of his talent.
It all started during the TT this year, when Peter met Gavin Sokolich, the international manager of Carl Cox Motorsport, who asked the 31 year old English rider to join the squad for some races in New Zealand over winter time.
A very enthusiastic Hickman didn’t need to be convinced and they planned to join the whole Suzuki Tri-Series, which started on the 9th of December with the races on the Taupo Circuit.
It didn’t really go to plan at the start for Hicky however, who landed just the day before Saturday’s qualifying. Despite missing Friday’s practice on a very technical track and suffering with jet lag, Hickman set a time just 0.3 seconds off the lap record, starting the races from the front row.
Race 1 was inturrupted by a crash with another rider, and resulted in Peter rejoining the group dead last – but managing to cross the finish line in 14th position. A bad start in race 2, then, saw him struggling for 5th.
With a bit of time to settle in, Hickman left his mark at the second meeting of the Series at the Manfeild Circuit. Riding the Carl Cox Motorsport S1000RR, the Isle of Man TT lap record holder won both the Superbike races slotting in 3rd provisional position in the series after leaving Taupo in 11th - he is now just 8 points behind the current Tri-Series champion Scotty Moir, with Shane Richardson leading.
On his way to Manfeild, Hickman stopped in Wanganui, which will host the last round of the Series on Boxing Day; some fans probably already heard about this road race at the Cemetery Circuit as other riders like Guy Martin, Billy Redmayne and Horst Saiger attended it in the past. It’s a historical race, held since 1951, between kerbs, lampposts and railway crossing: a real road race, even if Hickman described it as “quite wide” after doing a few laps by car, ready for action on the 26th of December.
Will the Smiths Racing rider add another International win to his incredible string of success, including 2 TT wins, a new TT lap record, 3 MacauGP wins, and also Ulster GP, North West 200 and BSB victories?