Superbikes: Tommy Hill back in title race after Knockhill double

Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill put his title bid firmly back on track by dominating the MCE Insurance British Superbike round at Knockhill and recording the first double race win of the season.

It was major triumph for Hill who had powered to his second pole start of the season in the difficult wet conditions at the Fife circuit, but then faced the challenge of his title rivals on the dry raceday.

But he and his team adapted well by using tried and tested settings and that paid dividends as he became the first rider to secure a double victory this season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hill was eager to make his mark but lost out in the race to the front off the grid, however, he soon reeled in Samsung Crescent Suzuki's John Hopkins who had led the pack into the first corner on the first lap and then pulled clear with a pace that left the rest trailing.

Hill took the first race in commanding style from Hopkins with the former two-times British title winner Shane Byrne third on his HM Plant Honda and he was determined to set the record straight at the start of the second race, although that was to prove difficult in an incident-littered start.

Twice the Nissan GTR Safety Car was deployed as first Tommy Bridewell tipped off at Seat Curves and then Hopkins suffered a similar fate, also bringing down his team-mate Jon Kirkham who was able to rejoin the action.

Byrne had the advantage just but Hill was snapping at the exhaust pipes of his bike and soon they were racing elbow to elbow in a thrilling duel for supremacy. Hill had the edge and finally made the telling move with nine laps remaining.

Once ahead Hill pulled out a lead, taking the race by 2.464 seconds from Byrne who had to settle for second best just ahead of Michael Laverty riding the second Swan Yamaha. For Hill, who had ripped the ligaments in his left shoulder in a heavy crash in the second round at Oulton Park back in May, it was a day to treasure and reward for riding through the pain barrier in other rounds in a damage limitation exercise.

At Knockhill, Hill was on the attack, back to his old self and explaining: "Adrenalin is the best pain-killer of all - I didn't feel a thing till I took the chequered flag. To come here and do this, pole start, lap record, two wins, it really is unbelievable - you could say a big weight off my shoulder.

Hill added: "It's been a tough time not only with the shoulder, but also with gambles on tyres as the weather has intervened too often making it so difficult. Winning the first race was a relief, such a big result and a necessity for me as it puts us back where we should be."

Byrne extended his championship lead with third and second places, 172-141 over Hopkins who lost ground with his second race tumble with Hill third on 120 points.Michael Laverty, sixth and third, consolidated his place in the top six with reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari joining them on the strength of his fourth place in the second Knockhill race.

Glen Richards riding the Tyco Honda and Simon Andrews on the PR Kawasaki took the victories in the BSB-EVO class.

Related topics: