The British Superbike Championship got started yesterday with Worx Crescent Suzuki’s Tommy Hill and Swan Honda’s James Ellison splitting wins at Brands Hatch on April 5.The first race featured a battle between Hill and HM Plant Honda’s Ryuichi Kiyonari with Hill earning the win by a scant .723 of a second. Ellison was third, 4.6 seconds behind with Relentless Suzuki’s Alastair Seeley and Kiyonari’s teammate Josh Brookes rounding out the top five.”After all the work that the team has put in over the winter and in the build up to the race this weekend, it was just fantastic to come away with the race one win,” Hill said. “The bike’s been consistently good all weekend and I was able to sit behind Kiyo and work out a race plan. At two-thirds distance I thought it was time to make a move. I calculated that ‘Surtees’ would be the place to make it as it would be a surprise to him and mess-up his momentum. Hats off to James Ellison in race two; he rode well. The pace was really fast, even in the last laps we were lapping as fast as we have all weekend. The grip had gone but we were still doing 45s. To come away with a first and second is brilliant; I really have to thank the team for putting me there. I’m really looking forward to Thruxton now for more of the same.”Kiyonari was close in race one and disappointed not to win.”The backmarkers towards the end of the race were not too much of a problem, but I was a little disappointed that I could not push on more – I need to understand more the traction control, tire life, and keep my lap times more consistent,” Kiyonari said after race one in a team release.In the second race, it was a battle between Ellison and Hill, with Ellison getting the nod by .186 of a second. Seeley improved to third with Relentless Suzuki’s Michael Laverty and Swan Honda’s Stuart Easton rounding out the top five.”That was far from comfortable, hard work,” Ellison said after race two. “My brother Dean told me to get out there get the lead and keep it smooth. I did just that. The only difference we made to the bike between races was new tires. It has been mega all weekend. I’m just so pleased to win for the team, who has worked so hard.”After one round and two races, four points separate Hill (45) from Ellison (41) with Seeley third, 16 points behind Hill.Neil Hodgson’s season started badly on the Rob Mac Racing Yamaha R1 with the Isle of Man resident crashing in the morning warmup and landing on the shoulder he badly injured last year in a motocross training accident.”I feel pretty bad for all my team, they have all worked so hard trying to get me going and then today I crash their bike!” Hodgson said. “I got caught out with the notorious left hand corner and paid the penalty for not letting the tire get enough heat in it. My shoulder took the whole impact and left me with no option but to sit out today, pretty miserable start to the year, but hopefully we can get back on it at Thruxton.”
Hill, Ellison Split BSB Wins
Jean Turner | Contributor
A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.