The seventh round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship has been a difficult weekend for the FHO Racing BMW Motorrad squad, with Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman struggling with grip across the weekend at Thruxton.
Coming into the weekend hopes were high for Faye Ho’s team with both riders holding the Hampshire circuit as a favourite on the BSB calendar. However due to the abrasive nature of the circuit, all teams must run a harder tyre compound and the FHO team struggled to optimise the set-up of the M 1000 RR machines to suit the harder tyre.
Although a difficult weekend there are positives to take with Pete scoring three top-ten finishes after what has so far been a challenging BSB season results wise. Preferring a softer tyre compound, which also seems to suit the BMW machine, the FHO team worked hard to make changes to suit the BMW and the harder tyre which saw ‘Hicky’ able to make progress where he finished 10th, eighth and ninth across the weekend.
For Josh it’s been a frustrating round results wise with him placing 15th, 17th and 22nd. Although struggling with the same issues as his teammate throughout the weekend, Josh unfortunately didn’t benefit from any of the changes made. Josh’s results from the weekend have seen him drop places in the overall standings where he’s now sitting seventh with 178 points.
Meanwhile in the ABK Beer 0% BMW Motorrad F 900 R Cup, Richard Cooper continued his domination of the class where he made it six from six wins. Topping the times in each session and winning the Heat 1 race, ‘Coopes’ fought off some tough competition in the Main Race to take the win by just 0.453s.
The FHO Racing team will now look towards the next round of the season, Cadwell Park (26 – 28 August) – the teams’ home round with the workshop just a few miles away from the Lincolnshire circuit.
I can’t really explain what’s happened this weekend as I don’t really know. Obviously we would expect far better than the results this weekend, there’s no way that would be a result we could even image to expect to have. From the very first session of the weekend the BMW wasn’t performing to the level that it needs to, in order to be competitive and I could feel that straight away. These things happen sometimes, and we work through processes and adjust the bike accordingly and make it work again, but it really didn’t improve at all. We made some small steps but nothing that would have put us in a position to be competitive, Pete’s made an improvement in some areas, but where he’s struggled this weekend doesn’t seem to be what we’re struggling with. He seems to have more issues with drive grip up off the edge and I have issues with the edge before it gets up into the drive position. We’ve got different problems but we’re both suffering with the lack of grip. We’ve all tried as much as we could this weekend and the team have worked hard to try and work a solution but for whatever reason, whether it’s the harder tyre, chassis, engine, or even the rider we weren’t able to work out a fix.
Coming into Thruxton I was super excited to get here, it’s one of the best tracks in the country for myself, a track I’ve always gone well at. Right from a kid actually the first time I ever raced here I broke the lap record, so it’s been a good circuit for me throughout my career and I was looking forward to getting here, especially off the back of a few bad rounds. Brands was a lot closer for us, so I was hoping to build on that and in some respects, we have done that scoring an eighth, ninth and 10th. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not where we would have liked to have finished but it’s solid enough, but we need to and should be in the top-ten all the time. The bike has been a bit of hard work and Josh has struggled a bit more than I have this weekend, which is probably the first time this year it’s been that way round. I don’t know if it’s that my size helps a bit more round here, it’s probably the only circuit where my size does help and doesn’t hinder me as I can get hold of the bike and manhandle it a bit. There’s not so much stop, start and it means I can carry the corner speed and I don’t miss out due to my size. Overall, I’m content enough, it would have been nice to have been a lot closer, but even in the last race with one lap to go I was only three seconds off the win, so actually we were not that far off in the end. The team have worked super hard over the weekend, so thanks to them, hopefully we can turn things round for the next one at Cadwell.
Faye Ho – Team Principal:
Thruxton has been a tough round for everyone; for Josh, Pete and the whole team. Everyone has been working so hard and we’ve been trying to problem solve to be able to progress, but we’ve just struggled with the harder tyre. Although Pete had a turn of fortunes and finished consistently in the top ten across the three races, Josh has really struggled to progress and make a step forward. It’s a real shame for everyone; we all came into the weekend with high hopes as Josh and Pete both enjoy this circuit and with it being fast and flowing it should suit the BMW, but we just couldn’t find the right direction. Pete’s results are positive, and we’ve definitely made a step forward with where he’s been at previous rounds, but we know he can be further up the field here and the same for Josh. We’ll now put our heads together and work out a plan to come back stronger at our home round where we’ll aim to be back in the mix.