Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 27 May 2015
The Isle of Man TT’s fastest ever newcomer, Peter Hickman, will return to the island this year despite suffering serious injuries in a 150mph crash at Oulton Park earlier this month.
Hickman broke his neck, his back and punctured a lung in a practice crash at the Oulton Park round of the British Superbike championship. The Louth-based rider fell from his RAF Reserves BMW S 1000 RR in the wet, following his machine into a tyre wall.
His injuries ruled him out of competition at the first international road race of the year, the North West 200, but after almost a month’s rest he will return to action as practice for this year’s TT gets underway next week.
“It was pretty gutting to miss the North West 200 but I needed to make sure I was fit enough to be able to ride at the TT”, said Hickman speaking to Bike Social.
“I could have ridden, but I’d have been in a lot of pain and would have probably hurt myself more there wasn’t a lot of point in doing it.”
Hickman suffered two fractured vertebra and a punctured lung in the crash and has spent the last three weeks recovering.
“The only thing I’ve been able to do is rest”, he explained. “The lung pretty much repairs itself and the bones will repair themselves too, but I couldn’t go into the hyperbaric chamber or anything because of the punctured lung. With that off the cards the only thing I could do is rest so I’ve been chilling out but making sure I’ve been getting up and moving around. I had a neck brace on for the first week and a half and then I started taking that off for a few hours a day just so I could get my neck muscles to work and support my head. If I had kept it on until I rode again then I’d have no neck muscles to be able to hold my head up when riding, especially with a helmet on. Progress has seemed slow but I’m feeling better each day.”
Rather than riding a bike for the first time since his injury at the Isle of Man, Hickman headed to Snetterton yesterday to take part in the official British Superbike test. He was sixteenth fastest overall but as high as tenth in one session.
“I was quite happy with yesterday’s testing at Snetterton as I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was tenth in one session and felt much better than I thought I would. I wasn’t there for a laptime, I was there to ride around and see how I feel.”
Practice for the 2015 Isle of man TT starts on Monday, with racing kicking off on Saturday 6th June. Hickman impressed in his debut year on the Island in 2014, obliterating the fastest ever newcomers record with a 129.104mph lap in the Senior TT.
“I think I’m ready for the TT, there are a few issues with our BMW stocker so we’ll probably take a trip to Jurby on Monday before practice”, Hickman continued. “Other than that it should be really good, I’m excited! I’m riding the superstock bike in all classes, we’re not taking a superbike and I have also got a supersport bike!
“It’s only my second year, I’ve still got a lot to learn and I want to take my time. I’m going to approach it exactly as I did last year, build up nice and steady, try not to make any mistakes and learn as much as possible and see where we end up. I’m not going to use any pit boards again or anything like that. I’ll just keep riding around on a pace I feel comfortable at.
“Fingers crossed, there were definitely places I could have gone a lot faster last year so if it’s clear we should be able to go quicker, but who knows! There are so many factors that can help or hinder you at the TT so we’ll only find out when we actually start.”