British Superbikes: Win double puts Hill in pole position
12:02 01 September 2011
Beckenham racer wins final two races before Showdown event
Tommy Hill will head into the MCE Insurance British Superbike Showdown well and truly in pole position after securing two wins in the ninth and final round of the regular season at Cadwell Park.
Hill headed to the Lincolnshire circuit safe in the knowledge that no matter what happened he would be in the Showdown, which sees the top six riders break off to battle for the title in the last three rounds.
However that didn’t stop him laying down a formidable marker to win this year’s title as the Swan Yamaha rider powered his way to victory in both races on Bank Holiday Monday.
His team-mate Michael Laverty had begun the weekend by qualifying on pole and winning Sunday’s rescheduled race from round eight at Oulton Park, where Hill finished second.
That means Hill will enter the Showdown which starts at round 10 in less than two weeks at Donington Park with 29 podium credits – points given for finishing in the top three during the first nine rounds.
With all riders starting on 500 points Hill is in the lead thanks to that – seven ahead of two-time champion Shane Byrne and 11 ahead of American John Hopkins who sat out Cadwell Park through injury.
“It was a fantastic weekend for Swan Yamaha and for me I left with a big smile on my face,” said Hill – who suffered ligament damage to his shoulder earlier on in the season.
“I got really emotional riding around after race three had finished, the support we get is brilliant, and hopefully I can go on and become British champion now.
“Cadwell is a physical course and you have to hit the apex of every corner and halfway through race two I started getting pain in my shoulder.
“I was dreading that because Cadwell is such a physical track but I wanted to try and forget about it. There are a few people still struggling with shoulder injuries years after doing it so I’m doing well.”
However Hill’s celebrations were marred by the tragic death of Ben Gautrey following a multiple-bike accident in the National Superstock 600 race earlier in the day.
“It is upsetting to see that and all of my thoughts are with his family,” added Hill. “Like I said it was emotional riding around at the end and our thoughts do go out to his family.”
* British Eurosport 2 will be broadcasting every round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship. The channel is available on Sky 411 & Virgin Media 525. Watch online via the Eurosport Player (www.eurosportplayer.co.uk).