DEAN Hipwell got off to a flying start in the British Supersport Championship on Easter Monday at Brands Hatch.
The Harworth man, riding for the CDH Racing team, fought back from a setback 24 hours before the race, to finish fifth – less than a second behind the winner.
Changes to the championship this season mean that riders have two free practice sessions and then one qualifying session and a qualifying race the day prior to the main race.
The fastest lap time of each rider in the qualifying race determines the grid positions for the following day, irrespective of their finishing position.
Championship points are awarded for both races.
After the second free practice session things were looking good for the CDH team as Hipwell finished the day with the second quickest time.
Easter Saturday saw him put in another good performance in qualifying bringing the CDH Yamaha into 10th place on the grid for the following day’s qualifying race.
Hipwell was all fired up for action as he lined up on the grid for the start of the race on Sunday.
So much so that he made a jump start and was penalised with a ride through penalty.
He dropped off down the pit lane at the end of the third for this and rejoined the race in last place nearly 10 seconds adrift of the rider in front.
With some aggressive but controlled riding he had caught and passed the rider in front by the end of lap eight.
Over the remaining eight laps Hipwell had made up eight places to finish in 25th.
Despite this setback he had set up the fifth quickest lap time and would start from this position on row two of the grid, just in front of Steve Plater, for Monday afternoon’s main race.
On race day Hipwell got away to a good start maintaining his fifth position with the leading group at the end of the opening lap.
Just over a second covered this lead group as the pace quickened on the second lap.
He maintained this position well as he fought off the challenge of the Triumph of Jimmy Hill.
By the end of lap 10, as this battle continued, Hipwell had started to lose some ground on the four riders in front.
He continued to fight off the challenge of the two riders now tracking him and on lap 18 he jumped up into fourth place as the rider in front crashed out at Clearways.
By lap 20 he was having to fend off the challenge of Plater who had dropped down to 10th place after the start.
The Harworth racer did well to hold off the challenge of the more experienced rider until the penultimate lap when Plater managed to squeeze past him.
The CDH team were in joyous mood as Hipwell brought the Yamaha across the line in a fantastic fifth place.