Peter Hickman was surprised to find himself on the podium in the Supersport class at this year’s North West 200 on his first run out with the Trooper beer ZX-6R.
Only unveiling the project as he headed off the grid for Tuesday practice, Hickman admits the ZX-6R he’s running alongside the factory-supported Kawasaki’s he’s riding for the GBmoto team is very much work in progress.
Losing out significantly on top speed and power, Hickman struggled to finish in the top ten in Thursday’s 600 race but a step forward for Saturday saw the British Superbike race winner push further towards the front.
Sitting fourth, Hickman benefitted from a penalty handed to second-placed Lee Johnston for going straight on at the Juniper chicane to take his debut North West 200 podium. However, that’s not to say it came easy, with newcomer Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, who tragically lost his life later in the day, pushing him to the end for the final podium spot.
His initial podium success was immediately followed up by another trip to the rostrum in the Superstock race, in which he put up a strong fight against BMW-mounted Ian Hutchinson and Alastair Seeley to eventually cross the line in second.
“It was a pleasant surprise to be on the podium in the Supersport race, we’re a bit down on power compared to some of the other bikes so it was a good result!” he said.
“The superstock bike was really strong in certain areas and that let me ride it well, particularly on the brakes. I genuinely felt we were on for a podium in the Superbike class too but the race was cut short.”