Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill had to stand in pitlane and watch as Shane Byrne claimed the Surrey man’s number one plate at the Brands Hatch MCE British Superbike finale yesterday.
Hill finished third in this year’s championship behind Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes and triple champion Byrne and had the same placing in the last race of the year, benefitting from a collision that involved Samsung Honda’s Michael Laverty and WFR Honda’s Alex Lowes where both bikes ended up in the gravel on the final lap, making way for Hill to take third.
It's true to say that Hill had a solid weekend at Brands Hatch, finishing race one in second place, race two in sixth place and then third in race three. But the 27 year old admitted he has had good and bad times in his career, but this year his hard work has not paid off, unlike last year where he won the title for the first time.
“I’m fairly happy with what I have done this year, but it hasn’t panned out exactly how we wanted it to so all credit to Shakey and the rest of the riders out there. We all rode hard and it’s just not gone quite my way. Don’t get me wrong, all season we bust our balls I have got respect for all the riders out there, I know how hard it is sometimes you go through a lot of ups and downs in this sport I have had a lot of downs in my career and last season it paid off,” said Hill.
The Englishman accepted that this year was going to be difficult to compete with Byrne for the British Superbike title, after only finishing one Showdown round on the podium, and says Brookes will be feeling worse than him as the Australian came so close to taking the title off Byrne.
“Josh [Brookes] feels probably worse as he may feel he was in a championship winning position – whereas for me in reality it was to going to be difficult. I needed Shakey to have two DNFs or something like that, it was always going to be a up hill struggle for me and the Swan team.”
Hill did have a good start to the 2012 season, finishing seven races on top of the podium, and says this year the showdown stages did not work in his favour.
“Throughout the season it has been a fantastic year, unfortunately for me, Tommy Hill and the Swan Yamaha team, the first part of the season gets forgotten about, we all just look at the last results. Unfortunately for me the showdown part of the championship has not gone the best, we had a bit of bad luck going into Assen and were on the back foot, and it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
“That’s why I feel a bit deflated because of that bad luck and because of the way I was going so great at the start of the season, and it hasn’t at this part of the championship, but the showdown can work for some people and not for others, but the facts are that everyone is riding hard and are top of their game.”
The Swan Yamaha rider finished the championship on 612 points taking him to third and overtaking Lowes in the standings, as the Honda rider failed to finish a single race over the weekend at Brands Hatch. As he watched Byrne celebrate on top of the podium, Hill couldn’t help but reminisce about his maiden title win last year.
“It was my time last year, and it wasn’t this year. We finished top three in the championship which isn’t all bad. I think for me hand on my heart I can safely say I gave it 110 per cent, and trained hard, I look after my diet, and that’s why I don’t want any excuses.”
So what does the future hold for Tommy Hill? The rider is still uncertain about next season, but he did hint that he would consider a move to World Superbikes, if he found a suitable team to accommodate him for 2013.
“For me next year I really don’t know, the sport is tough at the moment. I would like to step forward I would like to go to World Superbike possibly with a strong team. This is turning into World Superbike now, the championship is strong, we have a lot of different nationalities now. I would like to possibly do something different I’ve spent most of my career in BSB and had some hard seasons. I’m talking to a lot of teams but that doesn’t mean I have signed for them, like people thought. But I really don’t know, we will have to see.”