BSB

Hill snatches BSB championship by 0.006 seconds!

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Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill has won the 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship after beating John Hopkins to the line by just 0.006 seconds for second place to win the title by two points after an epic final lap as the title protagonists fought for the crown.

HM Plant Honda's Shane 'Shakey' Byrne won the final two races while Michael Laverty won the opening race of the fional rounds three.

A frantic opening lap saw Michael Laverty take the initial lead but Byrne then hit the front with a move at Druids, whilst the Swan Yamaha rider went wide on the exit which allowed James Ellison, John Hopkins, Tommy Hill and Jon Kirkham ahead.

Byrne then gradually edged out his lead but behind the tension was building between the leading Title Fighters as Ellison maintained his position ahead of the championship contenders Hopkins and Hill as the pack were inseparable with Laverty sixth. Kirkham then crashed out of contention at Druids to end his race, but he still had done enough to win the BSB Riders Cup.

Byrne continued with his impressive pace to double up on wins but the intensity of the battle for the title was increasing over the final laps as Josh Brookes began to also close in on the pack and he passed Laverty at Paddock Hill Bend on the 14th lap to move fifth.

Hill was desperate to get ahead of Hopkins as he knew it was his only chance of the title and he looked set to make the move at Clearways but it wouldn't stick as he put his American rival under increasing pressure. Laverty meanwhile got the better of Brookes to regain fifth which he would hold until the end of the race.

The penultimate lap saw Hill make a move at Paddock Hill Bend to move second, but Hopkins was instantly on the attack and Hopkins dived down the inside at Surtees as the battle to become champion intensified. Hill held the advantage as Hopkins fought back hard as the pair swapped places five times on the final lap. The first came from Hopkins at Surtees as he retook second before Hill reclaimed it into Westfield.

The American hadn't given up though and he again made a pass at Sheene Curve before Hill barged ahead at Stirlings. Hopkins looked set to take the position back into Clearways but it became a drag to the line as Hill crossed the line by just 0.006 seconds to win the title.

"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," HIll said.

"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.

"It has been a long hard season and it came down to that one race. Everyone wanted a Showdown and that is what we have given them; it really was make or break time and I knew I had to do everything possible to beat Hopper. I knew Michael (Laverty) was behind me, but then when I knew it was Josh (Brookes) I had to just go for it. Coming across the line we didn't know who had finished second and with it the title. At the moment I feel like I need someone to punch me or something to bring me back to reality. I just want to go out and race again now! I just want to celebrate now with my family, friends and the whole of the Swan Yamaha team and I need to thank everyone for their support this season."
So close yet so far for John Hopkins.
John Hopkins was obvioulsy dissapointed with the outcome after looking like the title was his after the first race.

"Well I don't feel great obviously, but I don't feel completely empty either. This has been a great season, I gave it everything I had but it just wasn't to be. So hats off to Tommy for taking the title," a galant Hopkins said.

"I couldn't be more grateful to the Samsung Crescent Racing team: They gave me everything including the best bike out there. I came into this year on a make-or-break basis and I'm hugely grateful."

Shane Byrne's two wins was enough to secure him third place in the standings as the season concluded.

?It?s been a fantastic year with a fine ending. I'm not the greatest fan of the Showdown, having led all of the way through to the start of it, but then slipped back a bit," Byrne said.

"winning the second race of the afternoon was a great way to finish the season at my local circuit though I didn?t come to champions to take third place, I wanted to win," the HM Plant Honda rider concluded.

Hill's team-mate Michael Laverty finished fourth with Australian Josh Brookes fifth.

Main Photo: Tommy Hill Celebrates
Credit: https://www.britishsuperbike.com

2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship - Round 12, Brands Hatch

Race three results:
1 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
2 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +4.434s
3 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +4.440s
4 James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +4.679s
5 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.782s
6 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +5.785s
7 Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +12.253s
8 Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +15.963s
9 Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +16.130s
10 James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +24.203s

Race two results:
1 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
2 Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +1.150s
3 James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +11.994s
4 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +12.825s
5 Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +23.993s
6 Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +27.829s
7 Tommy Bridewell (Motorpoint Yamaha) +29.403s
8 James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +40.713s
9 Dan Linfoot (Tyco Honda) +46.981s
10 Karl Harris (Splitlath Aprilia) +49.918s
11 Patric Muff (Tyco Honda) +53.784s
12 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +1:03.528m

Race one result:
1 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha)
2 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.396s
3 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +8.766s
4 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +8.873s
5 James Ellison (Sorrymate.com Honda) +9.007s
6 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +11.681s
7 Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +13.752s
8 Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +13.923s
9 Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +18.452s
10 Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +24.763s

Final 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:
1 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 647
2 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) 645
3 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 625
4 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 601
5 Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 598
6 Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 526
7 Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) 210

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