Peter Hickman to return to Isle of Man on Norton Superlight
It has been confirmed that Louth-based Peter Hickman will return to the Isle of Man TT races in 2020, racing the Norton Superlight in the Bennetts Lightweight Race, with the bike this time prepared and run by his own Smiths Racing Team.
The five-time TT Race winner joined John McGuinness and Davey Todd for a three-pronged assault with the new 650cc Norton Superlight in 2019 but was only able to complete two qualifying laps ahead of the shortened two lap race. While his Norton teammates both retired from the race, Hickman came home in a strong eighth position and posted a fastest lap at an impressive average speed of 120.260mph.
The decision for the bike to be prepared and run by the Smiths Racing team in 2020 allows the Norton factory to focus solely on increasing production of their road bikes.
Development of the Superlight race bike moves to Smiths Racing, but the team are no strangers to producing a race winning machine in a short space of time after taking victories in the 2019 RST Superbike and RL360 Superstock TT Races despite late delivery and little testing with the new BMW S 1000 RR.
The Lightweight Race has become a fiercely competitive class in recent years and the 32-year old is clear in his objectives.
“It handles really well which is especially important with the lightweight bikes. They don’t have much horsepower so they need to be able to turn properly and the bike did that immediately. Of course, there are things we need to change. It’s really heavy – heavier than my superbike – because it’s still a road bike and a lot has to be done to make it lighter. I think the podium is realistic and the win would be the cherry on top. I don’t go into anything thinking that we can hopefully finish sixth! The reason we’re doing this is because I feel the bike has potential. If I didn’t feel that, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
Success for Hickman and the Norton Superlight would undoubtedly hold extra significance for the Lincolnshire man, after his father Dave Hickman played a key part in the success of the JPS Norton team and the iconic rotary-engined bikes of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Now with bikes for six different races at the 2020 Isle of Man TT Races, could Hickman be the first man in TT history to claim six TT victories in a single week? It’s not impossible!