The final race of the 2011 British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch saw one of the closest race finishes ever, but what makes it really special is that the winning margin of 0.0006 seconds ended up deciding who was champion and who was runner up. Next year’s FoS theme: ‘Flat-out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge’ was made for clips like this.
At the start Shane Byrne, whose faint chance of winning the title disappeared when he came home in sixth place in the first of the three races that day, had well-and-truly cleared off up the road to leave James Ellison (Honda), John Hopkins (Suzuki) and Tommy Hill (Yamaha) to scrap for second. Whoever finished first out of Hill and Hopkins would be champion, and according to friends of mine who were there on the day they’ve never experienced tension at a circuit like it before or since.
What we have here are the final three laps of that final race and surely they must rank with three of the best racing laps ever, particularly the final one. That Hill and Hopkins managed to race hell-for-leather, but at the same time without a hint of controversy or bad riding is a great credit to both. In fact they were racing so hard and some of the moves they made were so breathtaking that it was a pity it had to end. Mind you, any more of this action and Jamie Whitham (commentating) would have lost his voice altogether.
But end it did, with the title being decided by six thousandths of a second, which at BSB speeds is probably a matter of centimetres. Tell us how many times you take a sharp intake of breath. Go on, be honest!