Victory and a runner-up spot in the second round of the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship campaign at Thruxton at the weekend allowed Tommy Hill to substantially extend his advantage atop the title standings from just four points to a commanding 34 – but for Worx Crescent Suzuki team-mate team-mate Yukio Kagayama, after a podium finish in race one it was a case of 'sh*t happens' in race two.
After scorching to an unrivalled pole position – to the tune of an astounding eight tenths of a second – Hill went on to replicate his form from the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser a fortnight earlier, though in race one he was made to work hard indeed en route
to the top step of the rostrum.
In a fraught and thrilling four-way scrap, the 25-year-old expertly got the better of Josh Brookes, Kagayama and Stuart Easton with a superbly-timed penultimate lap pass on his HM Plant Honda adversary to take the chequered flag in front, with the leading quartet all blanketed by a scant 1.5 seconds.
In race two, meanwhile, Hill went on to shadow Brookes all the way to the finish line as the pair made a break from the pursuing pack – and a close second place means the Surrey native will now travel to Oulton Park on Bank Holiday weekend with a comfortable margin over the Australian in the chase for the crown.
“Another two fantastic results,” he enthused, “and to come away with a much bigger championship lead is a great bonus. I've been a bit stiff today after that 120mph high-side [in Saturday practice] but, to be honest, once you're on the bike and the adrenaline is flowing you don't notice it.
“It was good to have Yukio up there this weekend and properly racing – and if he gave it to me I gave it to him back! That's exactly how racing should be, though; we're team-mates in the pits, but we're competitors on the track. I think the pair of us are now really looking forward to Oulton Park.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Kagayama, who after qualifying on the front row of the grid in fourth, battled his way to the front in race one as the Japanese ace at one point looked to be on-track for his first BSB triumph since 2004.
Proving that he has speed to rival that of his team-mate, the man from Yokohama nevertheless professed himself delighted with third – but a mysterious and severe loss of rear grip just three laps into the second outing later in the day sent him plummeting down the order, and he would go on to take the flag a lowly and frustrated eleventh.
“The first race was so enjoyable, a return to normality!” the 35-year-old quipped, referring to his off-colour Brands Hatch showing when he had not made the top ten at all. “The result is not so bad, but it could have been better – at one point I was leading, but near the end I lost a second on Tommy and Josh. When I got it back, it was too late – but it was great to be on the podium!