Tommy Hill has made the shock announcement that he is to take a break from racing in 2013 with a view to returning for 2014.
Hill, who finished third in this year's BSB series with Swan Yamaha after winning the 2011 title with the same team, will sit out 2013 and 'see what can potentially happen in 2014'.
The revelation was made via the following posting on the 25-year-old Englishman's official website Tommyracer.com
"It is with great sadness that I will be deciding to have a break from the sport in 2013. After a yet another hard fought year. I have been trying long and hard over the last few months to make a step up in the sport, I have started to realise the difficulty and what funds it takes to allow me to excel from my current position and move forward with my career. I have spent several years now riding at my current level, and sacrificing everything.
"Winning the title last season I hoped would have given me the opportunity to secure a ride in a higher tier. Over the last few years we have seen the British Superbike Championship grow in stature and gain a bigger following, but there comes a point in anyone's life when they want to move forward, or feel they need to have a break from whatever they are doing in life. As you may know I have sustained some big injuries over my years of racing and have missed only one racing season since I was 7 years old.
"To succeed at some things in life you have to be selfish, or some may say driven, and for many years of my career I have been just that. Eat, sleep, drink racing. From the time the alarm goes off, I'm training, dieting, putting unnecessary pressure on myself at times, not to do things until I get a result. Basically revolving every day to day activity around my racing.
"I have or may take my racing too seriously at times, and have always made my racing come first. But there comes a point when we may all need to take a step backwards and realise there is more to life...
“Looking forward, this may come as a shock to a lot of people, supporters and fans out there. But I really hope I can keep involved in the sport throughout 2013, either with a Championship, or manufacturer, passing my knowledge over, or doing some track-days and see what can potentially happen in 2014!."
"In the foreseeable future, I will continue with my design business (Imagedzign) give tuition on track-day's and possibly continue to keep in contact with race teams, and riders within the business over the next year. And basically enjoy my off season and try to relax a bit…
“Once again a massive thanks to all my supporters out there, every, race, dealer, track-day or promotional event I have attended this season has been great, and have always had a fantastic reception. A huge thank you to my fans my team and all my sponsors for their continued support throughout 2012."
“Yours in sport Tommy Hill”
Hill's announcement appears to make reference to the fact he couldn't secure a ride at international level in 2012, despite picking up the 2011 BSB championship, ahead of ex-MotoGP riders John Hopkins and Shane Byrne.
Staying in BSB for 2012, Hill appeared on course for the title after securing seven race wins in the run up to the 'Title Showdown'. However, an relatively average showing in the final three rounds allowed Byrne and Josh Brookes to finish ahead of him.
Hill has previously raced at World Superbike level, completing a half-season with Althea Honda in 2009 before returning to BSB racing.