Tommy Hill - Photo Credit: Impact Images

Tommy Hill - Photo Credit: Impact Images

 

Tommy Hill became the first repeat winner of the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship after seeing off Michael Laverty in sweltering Snetterton conditions. The reigning champion sat at the tail of a three-man leading group which involved Michael Laverty and Josh Brookes before storming clear in the second half of the race.

Brookes got a decent start from pole position but Laverty's Samsung Honda surged past at Riches with the Swan Yamahas of Hill and Noriyuki Haga slotting in behind. Haga soon slipped back into the clutches of Shane Byrne and Alex Lowes and the fight for the podium places became an exclusive battle between the top three.

The gloves came off on lap six as  Brookes lined up Laverty down the back straight but Hill dived up the inside of both on the way into Brundle. The move didn't quite come off for Tommy though as he slid wide, taking Brookes with him and Laverty ducked back underneath them to regain the lead.

Next time around, Hill judged it perfectly and scythed past Laverty into the lead and from that point on, the identity of the winner wasn't in doubt. Brookes briefly threatened to chase his championship rival but the Tyco Suzuki's tyres seemed to wilt in the heat, allowing Laverty to take a grip on second.

The fight for fourth would go down to the wire but wouldn't involve Shane Byrne whose Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki hit engine troubles on the sixth lap, minutes after teammate Stuart Easton had also retired with a technical problem. Lowes got his nose in front of Haga just before half distance but the Japanese rider kept himself in contention until the final corner, where his superior exit enabled him to beat the WFR Honda over the line by 0.029s.

Tommy Bridewell rode a terrific race to take an unchallenged sixth while Chris Walker won a drag race to the finish line with Ian Lowry, pipping the Padgetts Honda to seventh by 0.021s. Patric Muff finished ninth on the second Supersonic BMW while the two Buildbase S1000RRs were tenth and eleventh, Barry Burrell ahead of Dan Linfoot.

Jon Kirkham's return to BSB action lasted all of four corners as the Derby rider crashed at Agostini. The incident also forced Alastair Seeley off the track and the Tyco Suzuki finished outside the points as a result.