The ninth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship has been a positive weekend for the FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team, where after a few tough rounds, Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman made progress aboard the BMW M 1000 RR.
The weekend started strong for Faye Ho’s squad at Oulton Park, where after Friday’s opening practice sessions Josh was 11th and Pete eighth on combined times, meaning they both progressed straight into Saturday’s Q2 session.
Qualifying saw Josh fifth fastest, where he was only 0.063s from fourth and qualified on the second row of the grid. For teammate Pete, unfortunately qualifying was a different story, after suffering a mechanical on his first flying lap he didn’t secure a lap time and started the opening race of the weekend from 18th.
Across the weekend’s three races the FHO duo were consistent with their results, where Josh was fifth in all three races and Hicky came home ninth, 10th and 11th. Working hard over the weekend, the FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team made steps forward with the set-up of the BMW machine, which was reflected in the results with both Josh and Pete back within the top 10.
With the 2023 season drawing to a close and just two rounds remaining, Josh is still in mathematical contention of the title where with 250 points he’s sitting seventh in the current standings, 110.5 points shy of the current standings leader.
The FHO Racing team now has a weekend between rounds, where on 29 September – 1 October they’ll be back in action for the penultimate round of the ’23 BSB season, returning to Donington Park.
Meanwhile over the weekend the FHO Girls were back in action after a short break in their season. The girls were just down to two after Denise dal Zotto was ruled out of the weekend after breaking her collarbone in a training incident a few weeks ago. With Holly Harris and Jamie Hanks-Elliott flying the FHO flag in the HEL Performance British Junior Supersport Class Jamie secured two 14th place finishes, with Holly 22nd and 24th.
“We scored three fifths this weekend, which is an improvement on previous rounds; I wasn’t even going to be greedy, I was hoping for a podium this weekend rather than a win! The three fifth places are the best we could achieve, the last race was strong and I stayed close to the lead group for the longest period of time, but we’re still missing a couple of tenths, and we have to be realistic that the lap times I’m able to do aren’t good enough to rival the podium. We have got to keep our heads down, keep working away and improving, I think coming to a track we’ve been to already this season meant we didn’t have to make adjustments, we just set the bike up the way it was before and focused on the electronics. People forget we’ve got a new bike this year, so every time we go to a new track none of the information we have from years before is valuable, and in fact it does us an injustice as those settings compromise our progress because the bike is different now. I think people just assume you’re going to go to the next round and pick up where you expect and it’s proven not to be like that, as we’ve had a lot of work to do. But I think coming back to a circuit we’ve been to before has boosted our results and the next two rounds we’ve also been to before, which I anticipate to work in our favour.”
“The weekend started off positive, we were fifth in FP1 and eighth fastest overall, we’ve come off the back of some tough rounds and we were looking to be somewhere in the mix at the start. Qualifying it all went a bit wrong, we had a mechanical on the first flying lap and ended up 18th on the grid yesterday for Race 1 as we didn’t secure a lap time, which wasn’t an ideal situation. However, I managed to get a good start and ended up ninth, so I was quite happy about that. We made a little change for today’s first race, but I think we went the wrong way as it made the bike hard to ride and I struggled to be honest, and it meant I finished 10th, so went backwards from my grid position. The last race wasn’t the result we wanted and we’d made quite a radical change, almost we have nothing to lose so lets try something and see if we can improve. All we need to do is improve where we’ve been struggling and we’re not a million miles away, we’ve made a step forward this weekend, but we just need another step. Josh is nearly there he’s made a good step, I’m nearly there, just a couple of tenths a lap off, which is next to nothing. The last race was the worst result of the weekend, but I was more consistent; the BMW felt much better, and I think with a better starting position we could have actually been much more in the mix.”
Faye Ho – Team Principal:
“The team has been working super hard and this weekend we have made a step forward with both Josh and Pete, and it’s great to see the hard work coming together. We still have a lot of work to do and more progression to make, but we’re going in the right direction. We have two rounds remaining this year and we’ll be giving it our best and our all to make sure we finish the 2023 season on a high.”