Tommy Hill denied Shane 'Shakey' Byrne a double win on home turf as he took victory in race two of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch.
The Swan Yamaha rider was embroiled in a race long battle with HM Plant Honda's Byrne, but Hill held off the advances of the double British champion to claim a valuable win and an early championship lead.
Hill, who finished second in race one after a battling ride from 11th, started the race from pole position as a result of setting the fastest lap in the previous race. However, the Beckenham-born rider failed to keep a hold of his advantage on the opening lap as Byrne moved into the lead. Michael Laverty followed in third with reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari in hot pursuit holding fourth position.
The leaders soon gapped the chasing pack but Byrne remained under pressure from Hill. The pressure eventually told on lap 14 when Hill dived down the inside of the HM Plant Honda rider at Graham Hill Bend to take the lead.
Hill was unable to pull away from Byrne, who in turn was trying to force a mistake, in a bid to regain the lead. The battle continued throughout the race until the penultimate lap when the two-time British champion ran wide at Paddock Hill Bend, as he tried to outbrake Hill. Kiyonari, who was following the pair, took advantage of his team mate's error and quickly claimed second spot.
Byrne was unable to make up the lost ground, which allowed Hill to take the chequered flag, finishing just 0.142 seconds ahead of the hard charging Kiyonari. Laverty came home in fourth ahead of British Superbike debutant John Hopkins in fifth. Glen Richards completed an impressive double victory in the EVO category.
The British Superbike Championship heads to Cheshire's Oulton Park for round two this weekend.
British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result Top 10:
1.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.142s
3.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.598s
4.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.463s
5.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +10.089s
6.Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +11.984s
7.Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +13.048s
8.Dan Linfoot (Sorrymate.com Honda) +13.897s
9.Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +18.431s
10.Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +18.473s
British Superbike Championship standings Top Five:
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 45
2. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 41
3. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 23
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 20
5. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) 19
Photo credit: Tom Hughes – www.HughesVisuals.co.uk