Peter Hickman has been drafted into an already formidable United Kingdom team to contest the 2017 International Island Classic at Phillip Island, January 27-29.
The 27-year-old is one of three new faces in the nine-rider UK International Challenge squad, which is attempting to win the prestigious teams’ event for the third successive year.
“It was John McGuinness who put me forward for the ride, as he thought I would be a good fit for the team,” Hickman said.
“I’ve never been to Australia before, let alone Phillip Island, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s not going to be easy – I won’t see my Harris Yamaha for the first time until I get there.
“However, I pick things up pretty quickly so I don’t think it’ll be too much of a problem.
“And 2016’s been my strongest year to date, both on short circuits and roads, so I’m definitely feeling confident in myself and my riding.”
Alex Sinclair and Michael Neeves are the other new riders, while some of the other names in the UK roster are well known to Island Classic devotees: three-time individual winner and team kingpin Jeremy McWilliams, Conor Cummins, John McGuinness, Glen Richards and James Hillier. Keith Higgs is the riding captain.
Hickman is currently in good form, having won two races in the 2016 British superbike title en route to seventh in the championship.
He’s also a dab hand at real road racing as well, outlasting Michael Rutter in a cliff-hanger finish at the recent Macau GP and finished fourth in this year’s Isle of Man Superbike TT.
Hickman takes the place of Ryan Farquhar, who was injured in this year’s North West 200 road race in Northern Ireland.
Only eight riders from each country can compete in the International Challenge races, reserved for machines built between 1973 and 1984, with the UK and Australia to be joined by teams from Ireland, America and New Zealand.
Australia’s team consists of Jed Metcher, Steve Martin, Shawn Giles, Cameron Donald, Beau Beaton, John Allen, Scott Webster, Alex Phillis and Chas Hern.
Ireland, America and New Zealand will announce their squads over the next few weeks.
Tickets are on sale at www.islandclassic.com.au, with an advance three-day adult pass for $80* and children 15 and under free. Add on-circuit camping for four nights for $75* per person, purchased in advance.
VIP options are available in the Club Classic Hospitality suite above pit lane. Club Classic offers the flexibility of a single day starting from $150* or weekend package from $235*.
Outside of the four International Challenge races, there will be 52 other battles across the Australia Day weekend, starting with pre-WWI machines and then taking in different eras and capacities. Sidecars will also join solos on the program.
Gates will open at 8:00am each day with qualifying and racing from 9:00am.
*All ticket prices quoted are in advance.