British Superbikes: Tommy Hill feeling at ease ahead of Snetterton return
Tommy Hill feels a little more freedom to race in 2012 as the defending British Superbikes champion prepares for his return to Snetterton.
Some of the best riders in the world will compete at the Norfolk circuit this weekend for the ever popular series, the second time the Superbikes will have taken on Snetterton since its rejuvenated three-mile track configuration was completed in March 2011.
Hill took last year's title by just 0.006 seconds in an unbelievable finish that proved exactly how competitive the British Superbikes series is – a point Snetterton should reiterate with another mouthwatering weekend of action ahead.
'That was fantastic – you push so hard all year, and to go down to the last round, the last lap, last race; it was unbelievable to get the win and the title,' beamed Hill. 'It was something that I had been trying for so many years to do and finally we got it.
'This year I just try to take it race by race, whereas maybe last year I would probably have concentrated more on the championship. But this year it's race by race.
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'I've accomplished something that I have set out to do and put so much pressure on myself all throughout my career to try to do. I'm not saying I am putting any less on myself, but hopefully now some of the pressure might have been released a little bit and I can just concentrate on my racing and know that I have a championship – and sometimes it does make you ride better as well, relieving some of the pressure.
'It's a bit of freedom, going out there and trying to enjoy the racing a bit more and just trying to get the results race by race and build up the podiums.'
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Snetterton's new configuration offers plenty of challenges for the superbike riders, something Hill experienced last year after a promising weekend ended up delivering less than perhaps it should have. This time, the Swan Yamaha number 33 hopes to leave with more.
'The first race here last year I was sure we had it in the bag but we were just lacking a bit of top-end speed and Snetterton is quite a fast circuit; you need the speed to race with someone,' said Hill.
'So we lost out in that one a bit and the second one I turned into the hairpin and (Ryuichi) Kiyonari squared it up and came across the front and down I went – that was me out of the race unfortunately.
'We were having a good weekend up until then, and the test a month or so ago went pretty well. I fancy this weekend – I fancy every weekend. I just need to stay strong and it's looking good, especially with how the results went at Oulton Park.'
That last round saw Hill take a first, second and fourth – more than pleasing form heading to Norfolk's double-header.
Hill added: 'It surprising how tight the track is now at Snetterton. When I first went out there those fourth and third-gear corners were actually first or second gear, so it is really stop-start and quite tight, and it's pretty tough to overtake.
'But we will work on the bike and get it as best we can to make passes.'
For information on tickets, visit www.snetterton.co.uk or call 0843 453 9000.