Less than a week after an action-packed opening round at Brands Hatch, Tommy Hill takes the early 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title lead into this weekend's Oulton Park event.
Hill suffered heartbreak at the very same circuit last October, when his 2010 title hopes ended in the gravel at the final round showdown. The new Swan Yamaha rider returns with a narrow four point advantage and ready to banish his Oulton demons.
Hill scored a second and first place finish last Monday at Brands Hatch - despite riding with a fractured elbow sustained just a week before during testing.
"Before the opening round I was concerned about my elbow and I had a lot of treatment throughout the week to be ready to race which paid off,” said Hill. “It is fantastic to be leading the championship but it is only round one and it is early days still.
“We are looking forward to Oulton Park and getting the bike to work around what is a completely different track. Hopefully we can come away with a very similar result."
Hill will face tough opposition from riders including reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, who took a hat trick of victories to snatch his third BSB title at Oulton last year.
“I won three times at Oulton Park last time we raced there but I know winning is going to be hard,” said the HM Plant Honda rider. “Everybody has shown already that they are faster and so I know I need to find more from me, I have a mixture of memories from Oulton Park and some are very good, some not so much. I need wins and podiums for the championship so I will do everything I can.”
Team-mate Shane 'Shakey' Byrne marked his return to BSB from the World Superbike Championship with a victory at Brands Hatch and the former double champion is feeling confident that he can stamp his authority again this weekend at a track that he has been victorious on in the past.
“I can't wait for Oulton Park; if anything I could have left Brands Hatch Monday evening after the race and gone straight there!” smiled Byrne. “We have a good base setting on the HM Plant Honda and the team also have knowledge from previous rounds so we expect to be in a position to fight for wins and podiums at Oulton Park like we did at Brands Hatch. The whole of the team did a great job at the last round and we want more of the same on Monday.”