They don’t call the British Superbike showdown for nothing, and it became a final showdown between Tommy Hill and John Hopkins in yesterday’s final round of the season in the triple header at Brands Hatch, where Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill became the new British Superbike champion by 0.006s and two points.
In Saturday’s Race 1 it was Michael Laverty standing tall in first place and taking his third win of the season, while Josh Brookes took second and John Hopkins edged out his closest rival for the title in a stunning duel to the finish line to take third.
With his third place in race 1 Hopkins was still leading in the championship standings going into race 2 on Sunday. The race was won by a dominating Shane Byrne, while Hill grabbed fourth, as Hopkins suffered some sort of technical glitch on lap 1. The Anglo American rider managed to overcome the problem, but he was already behind the field, but the race had high attrition, he managed to fight back to take 12th.
Going into race 3, Hopkins had dropped 9 points in the standings lead and was leading only by two. Shane Byrne again won the race, but it became a dog fight between Hill and Hopkins in the final lap, that produced one of the best races of the season which would see the two cross over the finish line side by side, only for Hill to win the title in a photo finish by 0.006s.
Race 1 and Race 2 highlight videos, with quotes from Hill and Hopkins and final championship standings after the jump.
“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. 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.”
“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. 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.”
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