News 18 Jul 2011

Hill wins rain-soaked Oulton Park BSB round, Brookes second

Aussie Josh Brookes finished second behind Tommy Hill on Sunday at Oulton Park's BSB round.

Aussie Josh Brookes finished second behind Tommy Hill on Sunday at Oulton Park's BSB round.

Tommy Hill comfortably took the victory in the only race of the rain soaked seventh round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park as title contender John Hopkins crashed out of contention.

The Swan Yamaha rider took his fourth victory of the campaign to end a run of ill-fortune at the Cheshire circuit where in his previous two outing he had crashed heavily, the first time losing the chance of the 2010 title and then earlier this year when injured a shoulder.

Any memories of those incidents were shrugged aside as Hill who had been narrowly beaten by Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider John Hopkins in a high speed duel for pole start concentrated on the race which began in difficult conditions.

Series leader Shane Byrne made the early running aboard his HM Plant Honda on an opening lap in which both Peter Hickman and Patric Muff slid out. Hopkins was a close second from Hill with Michael Rutter on the Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati fourth.

Hopkins grabbed the lead on the fourth lap but did not hold it for long before he slid off under braking going into Lodge Corner. Further down the pack Karl Harris making his Splitlath Aprilia debut tipped off at Hizzy’s.

Byrne was back in front briefly before Hill made his move and once ahead was able to dictate terms pulling an edge on the rest.

“I just carried on. The rain was coming down even heavier as the race went on but I felt comfortable just keeping chipping away and getting into a good rhythm and keeping that going through the race,” he explained.

“The win was just what we needed, and it was a case of using all of the grip we could get. I had to keep my concentration and just make sure I didn’t crash. I think the team probably wanted me to slow down but I just didn’t want to lose that win.”

Hill finished the race 5.492secs clear of Brookes. The Aussie had taken over second place on the Relentless Suzuki with five laps to go but he was unable to make any inroads into the advantage held by Hill.

Byrne by then was coming under increasing pressure from Rutter and the Ducati rider snatched the final podium spot by a split second after a pass on the final lap at Lodge.

Gary Mason took fifth for MSS Colchester Kawasaki ahead of the second Swan Yamaha in the hands of Michael Laverty.

Adrift of them came the Motorpoint Yamaha duo of Loris Baz and James Westmoreland with Jon Kirkham ninth just ahead of the winner of the BSB-EVO class Scott Smart on the Moto Rapido Ducati.

The rain intensified as the afternoon continued and after several inspections of the circuit race officials decided on safety grounds that no further racing was possible.

The outstanding Superbike race has been rescheduled to be held at Cadwell Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend with a decision to be made on the re-arranged dates of the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship and Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship races to be made shortly.