Outgoing champion Tommy Hill says he can be satisfied that he gave his all during the 2012 MCE British Superbike Championship season, despite seeing his title campaign fade dramatically during the critical 'Showdown' phase.
Returning to the circuit where he claimed a stunning title win over John Hopkins 12 months earlier, the Swan Yamaha rider was already facing a task to stay in contention after average results at Assen and Silverstone dropped him well behind Shane Byrne in the standings.
A surprise drop in form for a rider that came into the three-round shootout with seven wins and a comfortable lead even when the points were equalised, Hill needed nothing less than wins in the three races at Brands Hatch, but again fell short with a second, sixth and third.
Though enough to secure him third in the standings, Hill was out-scored by Byrne, Josh Brookes and Alex Lowes during the Showdown, while Tommy Bridewell also equalled his three-round tally.
“You have a lot of ups and downs in this sport,” he said. “I have had a lot of downs throughout my career and last season it paid off. I knew it was going to be difficult this weekend and it has been a fantastic year but unfortunately for me the results at the start of the season don't mean as much in the Showdown.
“The Showdown didn't go so well for me and I feel deflated more than anything because of the bad luck. The facts are that everyone is riding hard and at the top of their game. Shakey is a deserved champion and we finished top three this year. I trained hard and gave it 110 per cent and that was what is important.”
Despite the disappointing end to the season, team manager Shaun Muir has vowed to come back stronger for 2013.
“I just want to say a big thank you to all our sponsors and everyone all season who have given such fantastic support. We have been beaten over the final three rounds of the season but we also want to congratulate Shakey on his success. We now look forward to a winter of hard work to ensure we come back in 2013 ready to fight for the title again.”