Tommy Hill says he has been left 'devastated' by his failure to land the British Superbike Championship title at the very final round of the season.
The Worx Crescent Suzuki rider had led the way for much of the year, while a strong start to the three-round shootout had placed him 11 points clear of nearest competitor Josh Brookes heading into the final three races.
However, while he held firm with a second place finish in race one, Hill crashed out of contention whilst battling for the lead in race two, a costly error that would see him fall away from Ryuichi Kiyonari with just one race remaining.
With no chance to respond in race three, Hill was forced to settle for what eventually became third in the standings – the lowest he has been classified all season. Naturally, Hill was hugely disappointed with the unsatisfying outcome.
"I'm devastated. The team has put so much effort into this championship, and we wanted this championship so bad – and it's not happened.
"Its been an incredible year, though. We started fantastic, we were fastest in testing and we started the season so well. The pressure then came on but we responded and stayed at the front – so for it to go away in one race, well, we're all disappointed. I just have to thank everyone in the Worx Crescent Suzuki team, they've been incredible, they've given me the championship of my life."
Hill's sentiments were shared by team manager Jack Valentine, who says his first race mistake of the season essentially cost him a shot at the title.
"Tommy knew he had to finish in front of Kiyo. He was looking to do that in the first race when he had his coming together with Ellison. We then fell foul of the one bike rule and after a season of staying on top, answering to every test, this one crash has cost us the championship.
"As a team we couldn't do any more. On the podium this evening it was clear that Tommy was the people's champion, but we wanted to give them today a British champion. It was one small mistake, severely punished."