Swan Yamaha British Superbike rider Tommy Hill has been knocked down. But he got up again. And he’s still aiming for World Superbike glory
There are few more approachable riders in the British Superbike Championship than Tommy Hill. Whether you are looking for a postrace comment or a picture signed, Hill is unlikely to turn you away. Walking with the Swan Yamaha rider through the BSB paddock, you are struck by how popular he is, how many people shout “Good luck” or approach him with programmes and pictures to sign. Nobody goes away unhappy.
Mind you, Hill has always been a bit of a cheeky chappie in the paddock. From his early days in the Virgin R6 Cup, back in 2003, he was always, among his contemporaries, one of the brighter sparks, a rider with a big heart and a shrewd eye on his future. Like so many road riders, Hill had started out in schoolboy motocross, but one serious accident too many – he is now spleen-free and operates on one kidney – encouraged him to switch to short tracks. When he won the Virgin Yamaha R6 Cup, in 2003, the prize was a year on the full-spec R1 superbike, run by Rob McElnea and his team. For Hill, this was it… or, at least, it was a big stepping stone. “When I entered the R6 Cup, that was my best chance of getting a superbike ride. We didn’t really have any other options. We didn’t have the money to do anything else. The year before, in 2002, when I did superstock, it cleared us out because of the cost of going racing.”
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