British Superbike series leader Tommy Hill had a perfect race day as many of his title rivals suffered misfortune at the uniquely testing Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire.
This eight event marks the penultimate round of the ‘Main’ season before the series elevates the top six points scorers at Donington Park, for a three round ‘Showdown’ for the prestigious BSB crown.
Title contender Shane Byrne crashed heavily in qualifying and could well benefit from the system as he potentially has to sit out Donington with a badly dislocated shoulder. Shakey said: “My aim is to be fit as soon as I can as the Showdown might work for me this time. If I feel strong enough for Donington I will ride, if not I will wait for Assen as I haven’t given up on the title just yet. “
Noriyuki Haga also suffered an accident in practice resulting in a broken collarbone that curtailed his event but unlike Byrne he has now lost his position in the top six ‘Title Fighters’ to sensation of the race meeting; Alex Lowes.
Qualifying saw some surprise names at the top of the timesheets as riders showed their nerve on a tricky, damp, patchy circuit. Alex Lowes took the pole position from Hill, with hard charging class returnee Karl Harris in fifth and young Danny Buchan alongside him in sixth, well and truly getting into his Superbike stride.
Hill controlled the first race from the front after a short battle with Michael Laverty over the first three laps. Laverty was then demoted by Lowes who was more than up for the challenge at his local Lincolnshire circuit as he saw the potential for a coveted Showdown place. The race started dry with slight drizzle right at the end, something that didn’t slow down Hill as he cruised to a win with three seconds to Lowes, saying, ““I put my leg out to indicate spots of rain but also set my fastest lap, so I must have properly confused my team!” That circulation was a 1:27.986, set on the fourteenth of eighteen laps.
Laverty finished a lonely third whilst behind him a ten wheel battle for fourth ended with Buchan forcing himself past Jon Kirkham to prove his Superbike mettle in only his second outing in the class. Josh Brookes eventually pipped the resurgent Karl Harris for sixth after battling up from his twelfth place grid position.
The second race saw Hill line up on the grid alongside Lowes and Brookes by virtue of their race one best lap times after earlier rain. The race start was a carbon copy of the first as Hill took the holeshot only to be overtaken by Laverty, the difference being that Hill retook the lead much later on lap nine in a brave manoeuvre at the end of the start-finish straight. Brookes took advantage of his improved grid position and looked menacing as he made forceful moves on first Laverty then Lowes in the Woodland sector at Barn and the Old Hairpin respectively. The race finished Hill-Brookes-Laverty as Lowes finished fourth with a fastest lap of the event (1:27.804) to add to his race one runner up position and pole position to compete an incredible weekend.
The big winner of the weekend was undoubtedly Tommy Hill as he racked up six more Podium credits and will go into Donington Park in two weeks on a confidence high.
Tyre choice remained fairly constant after the tricky damp practice sessions with all riders opting for the softer SC1 Pirelli Diablo Superbike rear tyres on race day. As seen at other circuits, stars of the show Hill and Lowes both chose the harder SC2 front tyres which allowed them to push hard into corners late into the race. Hill’s late race best lap showed the durability of the Pirelli control tyres as they continue to support close, consistent racing throughout the grid.
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “It’s been a great race meeting here at Cadwell Park with two closely fought dry races which also showcased the substantial talents of some young, upcoming riders such as Alex Lowes and Danny Buchan. Our tried and tested Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres again gave good consistent, durability with Tommy logging the fastest lap in race one after fourteen laps. Interestingly race two resulted in an even faster time from Alex, despite the rainfall between the two outings.”
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Cadwell Park
Race one result:
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2. Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +2.753s
3. Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +3.628s
4. Danny Buchan (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) +5.529s
5. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) +6.570s
6. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +6.703s
7. Karl Harris (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +7.794s
8. James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +15.051s
9. Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +15.110s
10. Peter Hickman (Buildbase BMW) +17.055s
Race two result:
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +2.161s
3. Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +2.594s
4. Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +2.730s
5. Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +12.591s
6. James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +17.425s
7. Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +17.771s
8. Peter Hickman (Buildbase BMW) +17.850s
9. Karl Harris (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +21.724s
10. Michael Rutter (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) +22.100s
2012 Championship standings (after Cadwell Park):
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 316 – [32 Podium Credits]
2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 276 – 
3. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 255 – 
4. Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) 204 – 
5. Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) 142 – 
6. Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) 125 – 
7. Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) 119 – 
8. Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) 113 – 
9. James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) 104 – 
10. Chris Walker (Bournemouth Kawasaki) 100 – 
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