Hickman to race YZF-R6 in Supersport
Gloucester-based Smiths Racing and Peter Hickman have swapped their Supersport Triumph Peter HickmanDaytona 675 for a Yamaha YZF-R6 in 2020, adding the 600cc machine to their already confirmed plans for the Superbike, Superstock and Lightweight classes where they will campaign BMW S1000RR and Norton Superlight machinery respectively.
The team have enjoyed a long and successful period with the Triumph 675 including winning the British Supersport Championship on two occasions, with Australians Glen Richards and Billy McConnell, as well as taking Isle of Man Supersport TT race victories with Hickman and Gary Johnson. Hickman’s win in the second Supersport TT race of 2019 followed four successive podium finishes around the Mountain Course whilst he also took a hat-trick of wins last year at the Ulster Grand Prix.
However, due to the lack of new parts to update the Triumph compared to the new generation Yamaha, they have decided to switch to Yamaha power in 2020, with the R6 being a much more up-to-date machine as well is being a consistent race winner in both the British Supersport Championship and at the International road races.
“We’re all really looking forward to 2020 and having the official BMW support for the first time is a big thing for us as we’re a privately-run, small team so to get that recognition is absolutely fantastic and nothing short of what, I feel, the team deserves – what we’ve achieved over the last three years has been pretty epic! We’re also running the Norton Superlight and carrying out all of the development work on the 650 Superlight which the team have already got in pieces and set to work on to hopefully turn the bike into a race winner at the TT.
“Finally, we’ve made the decision to change from the Triumph to the Yamaha in the Supersport class for the International road races which will obviously be a bit different to the last three years. We’ve had an awesome time with the Triumph and it’s been absolutely brilliant with the win at last year’s TT and all three victories at the Ulster Grand Prix being phenomenal. The little Daytona has done a fantastic job but, unfortunately, it’s a little bit long in the tooth now so to try and move with the times and keep up with what everyone else is doing we’ve decided to move over to the Yamaha. I’ve never actually raced an R6 before so I’m really looking forward to jumping on it to see what we can do.”
The move completes their assembly of machinery for the 2020 season where they will be the official BMW-supported team for the International road races with Hickman again favourite for race honours in the Superbike and Superstock classes having been victorious at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix last year.
The team will also contest the Lightweight races with Hickman riding the Norton 650 Superlight which debuted in 2019. Hickman and Smiths Racing took delivery of the bike before Christmas and will now spearhead the development of the machine as they look to build upon the 8th place and 120mph lap recorded at last year’s Isle of Man TT.
Hickman will also line-up for the team in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship where he will campaign the BMW S1000RR for a fourth successive season alongside team-mate Alex Olsen.
Darren Jones – Team Manager
“It wasn’t an easy decision for us to change from Triumph as they have been faultless in aiding us all the way through our roads campaign in 2019 but unfortunately, as the bike is no longer in production, we have been struggling to get the parts we need and feel like we are at the maximum when it comes to development. Therefore, 2020 will see us take on a fresh challenge and we feel that’s what’s needed to give Hicky a fighting chance. A big thanks to Steve at Raceways Yamaha for pulling out all the stops in getting us the R6 before Christmas, the boys have started already!
“That completes our machine line-up for the season ahead and with a year behind us with the BMW S1000RR and factory backing we are much better prepared than in 2019. The Norton project is another fresh challenge in the Lightweight class but our firm aim is to demonstrate the skill and experience of our team to turn this machine into a podium contender.”
Rebecca Smith – Team Principal
“We’ve enjoyed a wonderful journey with Triumph Motorcycles, having won two British Championships and two Isle of Man TTs. The support that they have shown us over the last seven years has been fantastic and for that we are extremely grateful. We now look forward to the new challenge with Yamaha and we are extremely hopeful of adding to our success already achieved in the Supersport division.”