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Hill holds off Haga and Brookes for race one win

Sunday, May 06 2012

Tommy Hill won the opening MCE British Superbike Championship race from the fifth row of the grid and hailed it the 'best race of his career' at Oulton Park this afternoon for the Swan Yamaha team.

In the first part of the race Brookes got a flying start off the line from Gary Mason and Jon Kirkham, however with Alex Lowes and Freddy Foray crashing at Lakeside the Nissan GTR safety car was deployed for two laps before the race resumed. Brookes held the lead as Seeley took second place on the run into Old Hall before the Samsung Honda rider regained the position at Island.

Brookes led the pack but the battle behind raged as Shane 'Shakey' Byrne moved up the order to second as Seeley dropped back behind the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki and the hard-charging Hill who had carved his way through the field up to third with Haga also up inside the top five despite their fifth row starts. The race was then red flagged after Kirkham crashed heavily at Water Tower whilst running in a strong fourth position on the Samsung Honda; he suffered concussion in the accident.

The second part of the restarted race, held over eight laps, was a fierce battle between the Swan Yamahas and the Tyco Suzuki of Brookes. The Australian again led the pack into Old Hall for the first time as Haga moved second on the opening lap to displace Byrne who gradually dropped to eleventh by the end of the race.

'Samurai of Slide' Haga then hit the front of the field for the first time in MCE BSB on the third lap at Lodge, as team-mate Hill simultaneously made the move on Byrne at the same corner. Hill was then able to barge ahead of Brookes a lap later and then was putting pressure on his Swan Yamaha team-mate.

On lap six Hill then took the lead at Lakeside and a determined final two laps saw him edge the advantage as Haga held off Brookes for second and his first podium finish in the championship.

Hill said: "I went into the race with an open mind as I knew it would be a big fight from the fifth row, even in two parts. The Swan Yamaha was working really well and I know everyone talks about last year's final race of the season, but for me that is one of the best races of my entire career - from 15th to the race win. Everyone wanted that win hard but I suppose I just wanted it the most. I am really happy, now I need to do the same in the two races tomorrow."  

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, race one result:

  1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
  2. Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +1.525s
  3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +1.685s
  4. Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +4.320s
  5. Tommy Bridewell (Swan Yamaha) +4.460s
  6. Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +6.340s
  7. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki) +6.879s
  8. Michael Rutter (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) +9.223s
  9. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +9.252s
  10. James Westmoreland (WFR Honda)  +9.661s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Oulton Park race one:

  1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 65
  2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 63
  3. Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) 49
  4. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda) 43
  5. Shane  Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 43
  6. Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) 34

Click here for full race result