Smiths Racing BMW has re-signed Peter Hickman for the 2018 MCE British Superbike championship and the road racing season while also signing Sylvain Barrier for his debut in the British series.
Hickman returns to the Smiths BMW squad for the second successive season having reach the BSB Showdown this year while also guiding the team to its first-ever race win which came at Thruxton. The 30-year-old will also ride for Smiths BMW at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT Races, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix in 2018, alongside the full season in BSB.
Joining Hickman will be Barrier for his BSB debut who has a long-standing connection to BMW while he also has strong international pedigree as FIM Superstock Cup champion in 2012 and 2013.
After a stint in World Superbikes with the factory BMW team, Barrier switched to MotoAmerica but an early season injury dent his chances in the series. Barrier effectively replaced Lee Jackson in the Smiths Racing BMW line-up for 2018.
Hickman is relishing the chance to remain on the same machine and bike for a second consecutive season as he aims to build on a successful campaign in 2018.
“This will be the first time in my career I’ve stayed with the same team on the same bike, so I’m delighted to be back with the Smiths team and on the BMW for 2018,” Hickman said. “We had a great season this year and we can now hit the ground running which can only benefit us.
“We know we have a lot more to come so I can’t wait to get started and I genuinely feel I can push for the BSB championship next year. We had a great package on the roads too and it’s great to get everything sorted early, so we can focus 100% on the goals we want to achieve in 2018.”
Barrier, who enjoyed a brief winter test at Cadwell Park after signing for Smiths BMW, concedes he faces a tough challenge getting up to speed in BSB on unfamiliar circuits but has confidence the family-run team can help him make quick progress.
“I’m looking forward to racing in BSB and have already ridden at Cadwell Park with Peter who is not only fast, he’s a great guy too,” Barrier said. “I know it will be tough learning the tracks I don’t know and there are times I may struggle, but we have plans to do track days at the unfamiliar ones, so I know the logistics of them before we race there.
“We have tests planned over winter, so I can get used to the bike and my team, and I shall enjoy working with a family-based team. Alan and Rebecca have the same mentality as my own family, so I will give 100% and hope we can be competitive.”
Rebecca Smith, team manager, is thrilled to lockdown the team’s plans early for 2018 and has strong faith in her rider line-up mix of talent and experience.
“It’s fantastic to get our plans in place at a relatively early stage so we can concentrate all our efforts on the 2018 season,” Smith said. “Peter has done a brilliant job for us both at BSB and on the roads this year, so we are delighted to work with him again next year and we really do believe he can achieve even more success.
“As for Sylvain, he’s got loads of experience on the BMW and we’ll ensure the team will give him the best bike. We know it’s going to be a challenge at times but it’s one we’re prepared for and I’m sure he’ll do a great job for us.”