John Hopkins is celebrating his first motorcycle victory in more than a decade after claiming an emotional British Superbike triumph at Oulton Park.
The American, competing in only his second event for Samsung Crescent Suzuki having made his BSB debut just a week ago at Brands Hatch, showed marked improvements in his race craft at Oulton Park as he tussled with the lead group in both races.
Though he fell short in race one when he finished behind Ryuichi Kiyonari, Hopkins's late charge to the front in race two, from eighth on the grid, was underlined by his aggressive pass for the lead on the penultimate lap.
Clinging on through the final revolution, in which Michael Laverty made an error whilst attempting to pressure his rival, Hopkins crossed the line for a popular victory – the first by an American in BSB.
Admitting to getting 'teary-eyed' on the podium, Hopkins was thrilled to be standing on the top spot for the first time in his burgeoning Superbike career.
"That was good, really good,” he beamed. “It's an awesome track, I really enjoyed riding here, but as well what great fan support! It's been 11 years since I last won a race – that and all that's happened to me over the past few years meant that this was one emotional win. I was definitely teary-eyed on the podium. I couldn't be happier.
"The racing, as before at Brands Hatch, was intense, there was carnage at times. But with my motocross background I can endure that. The first race went well, I started well and went with the leaders. At the end of the race I got into second and I had to ride for the finish at that point, but that's never a satisfying feeling.
"So I knew I wanted to win the second race. Curiously that race didn't go so well early on and I dropped back after the start. I regrouped but still had a lot of work to do to catch the two leaders, so I was definitely the man who gained the most when one of them crashed bringing out the pace car. Even after that it came down to a three-way battle. But the bike felt so good I knew the win was possible. I took the lead with two laps to go and never looked back.
"A big thank you to the crew for this weekend. I couldn't have done it without them."
The highest scorer of the weekend, Hopkins has moved up to fourth position in the overall standings, 14 points behind Shane Byrne.