Posted: 10 Oct 2011
RACE 1 – LAVERTY STRIKES AND TITLE GAP NARROWS
Brands Hatch again played the perfect host to serious racing and a breathtaking first race of three to underline the British Superbike Championship as one of the world’s leading racing championships.
Michael Laverty upset the bookies by taking a thrilling win from a hard charging batch of riders including Josh Brookes, who grabbed the second position on the podium.
But primary interest for the crowd was the compelling tussle between Samsung Crescent rider John Hopkins and Swan Yamaha rider Tommy Hill. These two main points leaders were both desperate to grab vital points that would decide the outcome of the championship.
The final lap came good for Hopkins who pushed Hill back to fourth place and in doing so increased his own points tally by a further 11 points going into race two.
RACE 2 – HOPKINS FAULTERS TO LEAVE HILL TWO POINTS CLOSER
Nobody could have predicted the events of this race or its outcome but fate dealt a bad hand to Hopkins on lap one when an electrical problem forced the American to park and switch everything off in an attempt to get the bike to restart. fIt worked, but put the American last in the race and his 11 point lead wiped clean.
Through sheer determination, Hopkins battled back to twelfth place, while Hill could only manage fourth place after Byrne took the win followed by Kirkham and James Ellison on to the podium.
With Hopkins managing to salvage four vital points, he now goes into the final race still leading but only by two points from Hill.
This was the race that would determine the Championship. From the start it looked like Hopkins was on course as he got ahead of Hill within the first section of the track. However, traffic ahead meant Hill could keep on Hopkins tail. This is the way it stayed until four laps from race end when Hill made a move on Hopkins and drew level.
But it wasn’t until Hill got past Ellison that a serious display of racing talent ensued with Hopkins and Hill trading positions to grab the points and, indeed, the championship win. The battling pair carried the fight to Clark Curve leading to the finish line of the last lap.
Hopkins took the inside line while Hill watched and guessed at his opponent’s actions. Hill changed line to get serious drive and the pair ran level to the finish line where only the official lap race timekeeper could split the two.
In the end it was just 0.006secs that separated the two and it was a triumphant Hill that took the win and enough points to secure the 2011 British Superbike Championship.
In all the excitement with the second and third placed riders battling for the title, it was easy to forget HM Plant Honda rider Shane Byrne had added another race win to his collection in 2011 and a with it a successful return to the high profile racing scene of British Superbikes…