BENDIGO sprintcar young gun Rusty Hickman has continued his impressive comeback from injury, gaining a podium in the 12th Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar Series round at Simpson Speedway.
Having only his second hit-out since returning from a three-month layoff due to a neck injury, the 17-year-old from showed plenty of pace throughout the night and was able to complete the night with an impressive second-place finish in the feature race behind two-time Australian champion David Murcott.
Hickman had qualified second for the feature race, which was cut short due to a stoppage and then wet weather, by virtue of a fifth-place finish and a win in his two heat races that earned him a spot in the pole shootout.
In the pole shootout, he was able to finish in second.
From the drop of the green in the feature race, Hickman was able to outgun Murcott into the opening turn and go on to lead the early laps.
However, Murcott was able to pass him for the lead on lap four.
From there, Hickman stayed with Murcott for the remainder of the distance, matching him for pace, but in the end, had to settle for second and in the process picked up his maiden 410 Sprintcar feature-race podium finish.
“To finish on the podium behind a driver of David’s calibre is a real honour,” Hickman said.
“Since returning from injury a few weeks ago, I’ve managed to be on the pace, which is great for the confidence and testament to the hard work and commitment of our family team.
“To be honest, to be this competitive among the 410s so early is quite a surprise and us a team we’ve gone from just being happy to be back out there to taking it a lot more serious because we’re running up against some of the country’s best drivers.”
Riding a wave of confidence following his podium finish at Simpson Speedway, Hickman on Monday night travelled to Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway for the 13th round of the series.
After a seventh and a win from his two heat races, he started from position five in the B main.
After a third-place finish in the B main, he started the feature race from position 15.
To be honest, to be this competitive amongst the 410s so early is quite a surprise.Rusty Hickman
On what was a fast track, Hickman was able to work his way forward and go on to finish in a satisfying 11th.
The next outing for Hickman will be on March 25 in the 15th series round in at Warrnambool.