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BSB Rider of the Year vote: 1st

16 December 2011

Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:
1. John Hopkins

Nationality: American
Team: Samsung Crescent
Bike: Suzuki GSX-R1000
Wins: 5
Podiums: 16
Championship points: 645 (Showdown)
Championship position: 2nd

Few will deny that either Tommy Hill or John Hopkins would have both been deserving of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship title, even if we were considering only their epic final lap duel, but while Hill won the title, Hopkins has won your plaudits here.

With a career that could form the basis of a Hollywood movie, Hopkins's arrival in BSB generated many column inches in the media and much interest amongst fans. Injuries and personal problems aside, Hopkins's decision to join BSB may have seemed like a step back for a man who only a few years earlier was a reputed MotoGP front runner, raising speculation as to whether he would even be competitive.

However, Hopkins would start the season injury-free and with a buoyant and positive demeanour, factors which would help him climb atop the BSB podium in only his fourth race.

Swiftly installing himself as the fan favourite, Hopkins was showing exactly why he has four MotoGP podiums to his name, but his speed was also being tempered with consistency, a crucial factor as he eased towards the 'Showdown' with Shane Byrne and Tommy Hill.

Although a hand injury threatened his chances, three consecutive wins suddenly propelled Hopkins into title favourite, a status he carried into the final event.

Of course, the end result has been well documented, those mechanical gremlins in the penultimate race arguably scuppering his chances, while the mere fact he would lose the title by inches ensured every fan – whether your allegiance was with Hill or Hopkins – would feel for the American in the immediate aftermath.

Nevertheless, as much as he would have wanted to end his 'comeback' season with the title, Hopkins's arrival in BSB wasn't just about winning races - he came to rebuild his reputation and confidence as a motorcycle racer.

As such, while Hopkins may have felt the bitter sting of defeat in those moments, the fact that he will return to World Superbikes in 2012 – and courted much attention on the MotoGP stage – suggests he fulfilled an even bigger objective this season…

Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010: N/A
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009: N/A
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008: N/A

Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:

2. Tommy Hill
3. Shane Byrne
4. Michael Laverty
5. Michael Rutter
6. Jon Kirkham
7. Graeme Gowland
8. Josh Brookes
9. James Ellison
10. Glen Richards


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