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Hill becomes BSB champion by 0.006 seconds!

Sunday, October 09 2011

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 race of the season.

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.

Ellison took a strong fourth place ahead of Laverty and Brookes. Michael Rutter ended his season with a seventh place as he held off Graeme Gowland, Peter Hickman and James Westmoreland.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship final, Brands Hatch:

  1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
  2. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +4.434s
  3. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +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

Final MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:

  1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 647
  2. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 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