Tommy Hill cemented his British Superbike Championship lead at Oulton Park as he controlled three exciting races to take maximum points in a comfortable triple victory.
Despite much of Britain being underwater and the immediate area receiving a weather warning, the whole weekend’s racing was carried out in dry conditions with riders getting the maximum from their Pirelli Diablo Superbike ‘slick’ tyres.
Olympic gymnast and local Cheshire resident Beth Tweddle was an intrigued visitor at Oulton, saying, “It’s been a great day at the races here with Pirelli, I’ve been here for British Touring cars but this was even better! It was fantastic to see the event and the pit garages from the inside view. Beth and her partner Steve got up close to the riders on the grid and were then kept entertained by Eurosport commentators Tony Carter and Jamie Whitham in the parc ferme. “It’s three weeks to the Olympics so this has been an ideal day out to keep my mind off the big build-up!”
Hill set out his stall in Saturday’s first race; taking the holeshot and easing out a small gap from Michael Laverty before ’MLav’ lost the front at Britten’s, causing chaos behind him and giving Hill an even bigger lead. Laverty was joined in the gravel during this race by many riders including Gary Mason, Luca Scassa, Keith Farmer and Tristan Palmer. Byrne and Brookes fought a close battle for second with Aussie Brookes getting the nod, albeit 4.5 seconds behind eventual winner, Hill. Alex Lowes set the fastest lap with a 1:36.481 to give him pole for race two, before crashing out!
Monday again remained dry, against the weather forecast, with Race Two again giving Hill an opportunity to extend his lead with a controlled, flag to flag win. The reigning BSB Champ was followed by his Swan Yamaha team-mate Noriyuki Haga for the early running before he was overwhelmed by Brookes, Byrne and Laverty. Byrne’s pass on Haga showed great racecraft as he went deep into the banked Shell hairpin to get great drive off his rear Pirelli to power past the Japanese ace. The race spaced out at the front but 3rd-4th-5th riders crossed the line just 0.3 apart. Brookes took the fastest lap with a1:36.321 second circulation as Kirkham had another big accident at the fast Cheshire circuit having also crashed in qualifying.
Brookes started the third and final race from pole position and although Hill scored another holeshot, the Aussie became the only other person to lead a Superbike race all weekend. Unfortunately for the Antipodean he had a drama filled race as Hill retook him before he had a big moment, headbutting the screen and tank. This incident dropped him down to sixth place before he regrouped to battle back up through to an eventual third after a brave overtake on Noriyuki Haga. Hill took the fastest lap of the weekend on lap 12 of 18 with a 1:36.194.
Hill then fled the circuit to fly out for testing for the prestigious Suzuka Eight Hour in Japan, at which he will partner Haga in a few weeks time.
The circuit allowed use of Pirelli’s Diablo Superbike SC1 softer tyres at the rear and Hill used his favoured SC2 harder front to give him confidence deep into each race; as shown by his late pace in each leg.
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths summed up; “Tommy really showed his dominance this weekend and will have given his rivals much to ponder.
It was great to see him take the fastest lap of the weekend two-thirds of the way through the final outing, a race in which he also showed the consistency of the Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres as he ran the whole race in 36’s.”
MCE British Superbike Championship, Round Six – Oulton Park
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +4.508s
3. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +10.339s
4. Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +15.746s
5. James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +16.256s
6. Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +16.803s
7. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki) +17.070s
8. Peter Hickman (Buildbase BMW) +17.070s
9. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +17.389s
10. Barry Burrell (Buildbase BMW) +30.100s
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +3.383s
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +6.141s
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +6.262s
- Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +6.552s
- Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +11.761s
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +12.442s
- Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +13.268s
- Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +13.305s
10. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +15.015s
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.135s
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +1.483s
- Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +1.619s
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +3.298s
- Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +7.093s
- Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +9.965s
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +10.298s
- James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +10.864s
10. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +11.191s
Championship standings after Oulton Park:
- Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 234
- Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 206
- Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 205
- Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 146
- Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) 104
- Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) 102
More information regarding Pirelli’s entire range of racing and road tyres can be found at www.pirelli.co.uk/moto