Brake issues plague Hipwell

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After a six-week break the British Superbike Championship returned to action last weekend at Snetterton, where Harworth race ace Dean Hipwell posted a hard-earned 12th-placed finish in the National Superstock 1000 Championship.

Friday’s two free practice sessions saw Hipwell disappointingly struggle to end up the 20th quickest rider after the first session. A split exhaust was found when the CDH team changed the fairing on the Selective Networks BMW for a lighter one ready for the second session.

After this session Hipwell ended up 23rd having had brake issues making it difficult for the Harworth rider to sometimes control the front end of the BMW. This problem was due to the front brake tending to bind. The team then spent some time working on the front brake system to cure this prior to Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session.

During the qualifying session the Selective Networks BMW exhibited the same brake issues with Hipwell only managing to frustratingly end up in twenty second place on the grid for Sunday’s race. More work continued on the brake system, even after Sunday morning’s warm up session to try and cure the problem once and for all.

Sunday’s mid-afternoon race got underway in cloudy dry conditions with Hipwell getting away to a good start moving up to 15th by the end of the first lap. With the race leader Andy Reid crashing out on the fifth lap Hipwell was elevated to 14th.

Making a move on the sixth lap to pass both the Suzuki of Tom Ward and Michael Rutter’s BMW he was now in 11th. Hipwell was now just over a 10th of a second behind the Kawasaki of Tom Clarke who he and Rutter overtook on the next lap putting him in 10th spot.

Rutter was just over a 10th of a second behind the Selective Networks BMW of Hipwell and overtook him on the eighth lap. The previous brake issues had started to hamper him once again and on the 11th lap he was down into 13th as Tom Ward and Matt Truelove’s Yamaha got passed him.

By the end of the 12th lap Hipwell had dropped to nearly a second adrift of Truelove and with Truelove having overtaken Ward on the 13th and penultimate lap he was just less than two seconds adrift.

However on the final lap he did manage to close this gap and overtake Ward to bring the Selective Networks BMW across the finishing line in 12th spot.

Hipwell was bitterly disappointed with this result as having got up into 10th spot had it not been for the brake issue he was certain that he could have got a top nine finish. The only consolation from a difficult weekend was the fact that he picked up four championship points.

The CDH Racing team now have three weeks before the next round at Knockhillto sort out and fix the brake problem with the Selective Networks BMW.