January 24, 2022

British bike champions head for Barbados Festival of Speed

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Swan Yamaha

Swan Yamaha

From Caribbean News Now

BUSHY PARK, Barbados — Former British Superbike Champion Tommy Hill and multiple British Supersport Champion Stuart Easton are the first British bike racers confirmed for the inaugural Barbados Festival of Speed at Bushy Park on May 8. They will join three-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton in making a spectacular high-speed contribution to the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the island’s Independence.

The former MCE Insurance BSB Champion is now a team owner, having built Tommy Hill Motorsport from scratch since the end of last season to run the ePayMe Yamaha squad. Easton, from Hawick in Scotland, and American John Hopkins – Hill’s former arch-rival – will ride last season’s MCE BSB-winning Yamaha YZF-R1s.

They have recently returned to the UK after a four-day test at Cartagena in Spain, attended by most of the leading MCE BSB teams, where the ePayMe Yamaha’s livery was unveiled. After the test, Hill said: “I am absolutely over the moon to be fair with how this first test has gone. Before November, I didn’t have a single nut or bolt and so to have two bikes on track with both of the guys doing what they have here, and the team working so well together is really overwhelming.

“For us it is always about moving forward; yes, I am a racer and people still ask me why I don’t get back on a bike and race again, but I have put that drive and passion into my team.” ePayMe Yamaha will next join the official MCE BSB tests at Silverstone and Donington Park (March 29 and 31), ahead of round one at Silverstone on April 8-10.

Hill won the world’s most competitive domestic Superbike championship in 2011 – by just six-thousandths of a second – in what remains the most talked-about showdown in BSB history; in the last of the season’s 26 races, it was a straight fight between Hill and Hopkins. While they were beaten to the flag by Shane Byrne, Hill crossed the line in second place, his front wheel just millimetres ahead of third-placed ‘Hopper’s.

Hill retired from the sport after the 2012 MCE BSB season. He had won 19 races and achieved a further 32 podium finishes in a total of 181 race starts, the vast majority of them riding a Yamaha, by whom he had been given his first BSB chance, after winning the 2003 Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup.

While he has not ridden competitively for more than three years, Hill is looking forward to demonstrating the ePayMe Yamaha YZF-R1 and joining Easton and the other visiting British bikers in two match races against a regional field.

Easton won the British Supersport Championship in 2002 and 2013; his Superbike record also includes a hat-trick of wins in the off-season Macau GP in 2008-10, and four wins in MCE BSB, finishing third in 2009. Hopkins, who can’t make the Barbados trip because of family commitments, is an experienced MotoGP and Superbike racer, with five BSB wins in 64 races.

The nine-hour programme at the Barbados Festival of Speed will be packed with a broad cross-section of motoring and motor sport action on two and four wheels, also including Micro Banger Champions from the UK, Monster Truck and Stunt Bike stars from the USA and local and regional content, including the Suzuki Challenge Series. The family-friendly day will also feature music from the Barbados Defence Force Band, a parade of classic cars and a lunchtime show starring Rupee, plus other activities with a Caribbean twist.

IMAGE: Tommy Hill (number 33) leading the British Superbike field at Brands Hatch in his BSB title-winning season, 2011

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-British-bike-champions-head-for-Barbados-Festival-of-Speed-29681.html

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