After a weekend that promised so much, the Swan Yamaha team left Oulton Park disappointed, and one rider down.
Tommy Hill was forced to surrender the championship lead after an accident in morning warm-up prevented him for competing in the two races.
The Lingfield rider was set to start race one from pole position but, as he explained, everything went wrong on the morning of the race.
“I was coming out of Shell and I knew I was up on the sector times, but as I came into Brittens I saw a yellow flag out the corner of my eye and rolled off a bit”, he said. “I didn't see anyone down, but there was just fluid on the track and I just it caught it with the rear tyre and it threw me off. It is a big downer for me and the team but I just have to go home and get mended as soon as I can.”
Hill has been diagnosed with a torn tendon on the back of his shoulder and will see a specialist to determine the extent of the damage, and the estimated recovery time before he returns to action.
“These injuries I have been told can take five to six weeks to heal” he admitted. “But I will see a specialist tomorrow and then we can go from there. Of course I want to be back for Croft, but I won't have more of an idea until I see the specialist.”
Hill's demise promoted teammate Michael Laverty to pole position for race one, but the Northern Irishman faded as the race went on, eventually finishing fifth.
Race two turned out to be a reversal of earlier in the day, as this time, Laverty made consistent progress through the field and took the lead from Stuart Easton. Unfortunately for Laverty, he would be denied by a determined John Hopkins, who took his maiden BSB victory.
And speaking on Monday evening, Laverty was frustrated but admitted that the Cheshire circuit had never favoured him in the past.
“I am quite disappointed that we didn't finish on the podium in either of the races today as I showed that we had the pace again to run at the front. I felt comfortable with the race pace and in race one I was struggling a little with arm pump which meant I just had to settle in and take fifth. I had some treatment between the races and it did make a difference and I was back at the sharp end where we knew we could be.”
“I felt strong enough to take the win, but I just made some mistakes and it cost me; before I knew it I had gone from first to fifth. I know that Oulton Park has never been my best circuit; in fact it is one that I have always struggled with, so coming away from here with two fifth places isn't a bad result and we can build on today.”
Team Manager Gary Ekerold was full of praise for his injured team leader, and looked forward to welcoming him back to action soon.
“Tommy did everything right all weekend so his crash this morning was very unfortunate. We know that he will leave here, work hard on his fitness and when he returns he will be ready to come back fighting again. In regards to Michael, he showed he could have won as easily as he finished fifth. We have had a positive debrief this evening and now we are happy with the direction we need to focus on ahead of Croft.”