December 5 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 10, 2011
Tommy Hill clinched the British Superbike Championship by the narrowest of margins as the title battle went down to the last second of the final race of the season at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
The Beckenham-born rider finished the third race in second place, just 0.006 seconds ahead of rival John Hopkins. The pair swapped positions several times on the last lap, but Hill just hung on to win the overall title by two points from Hopkins.
The Swan Yamaha rider, 26, found it difficult to take in the drama.
Hill said: “I am gobsmacked to have won the title for Swan Yamaha, this has been my goal and I was trying to stay as relaxed as possible in that final race. The season has put a lot of pressure on everyone and that reflects on everyone. We have been regularly finishing in the top three and that has therefore been the benchmark and the whole of the Swan Yamaha team have been working so hard all year to make this possible.
“It has just been a complete shock for me and I feel like we should be having another race next weekend now. It wasn’t until the other riders started congratulating me that I even realised I had won as it was so close between myself and Hopper.”
Hill went into the weekend trailing Hopkins by eight points and the gap was extended following race one on Saturday, where the American finished third, one place ahead of his challenger.
The title battle swung the other way in race two on Sunday, with Hill’s fourth place enough to take him into the championship lead as Hopkins trailed in 12th after mechanical problems on the opening lap.
It set up a thrilling finale, with Hopkins just two points ahead of Hill in the standings. The pair were inseparable over the closing stages and they swapped places five times on the final lap, with Hill holding the advantage as he crossed the line to win his first British Superbike Championship crown.
Sheppey’s Shane Byrne won both races on Sunday to finish the season third in the standings, 22 points behind Hill.
Photo by Steve Griggs