Hipwell shrugs off poor start to motorcycling season

Dean Hipwell in action at Donington Park over the Easter weekend.
Dean Hipwell in action at Donington Park over the Easter weekend.

Harworth ace Dean Hipwell refused to be too downhearted after a disappointing start to the motrocycling season at Donington Park over the Easter weekend.

Contesting the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship, Hipwell failed to finish in the opening race, and then limped home in a lowly 23rd in race two.

But afterwards, he was philosophical asnd feeling grateful that it could have been worse. In the dreadful weather, many other riders suffered nasty crashes, injuring themselves, while some also did a lot of damage to their bikes.

The opening rounds of the Superstock Championship were held alongside the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at the famous Leicestershire track.

After Saturday’s second free practice session in cloudy and wet weather, Hipwell had posted the 13th quickest time, and things were looking up for a decent qualifying position on the Sunday.

However, Sunday morning’s qualifying in dry but very cold conditions saw Hipwell struggle to put in a good time and he blamed himself for ending up in 28th spot on the grid.

The afternoon’s race got under way with Hipwell moving up to 26th by the end of the first lap. But on the second, he ran wide at the Melbourne, nearly taking out one of his rivals.

As he approached Redgates at the start of the third lap, he suffered a brake failure on the Selective Solutions BMW and ended up going straight on. It forced him to bail out to avoid running into the tyre wall and sustaining an injury.

Luckily, the BMW suffered only minor damage, but having completed only one fast lap, he had to start in 32nd place on the grid for Easter Monday afternoon’s race.

Fortunately, the torrential rain had stopped by the start of the race, but the track was still wet. Despite a dreadful start, Hipwell moved up to 28th by the end of the first lap, and he progressed to 24th by lap four.

He gained another position on lap five and stayed in this position for the next three laps before he overtook the BMW of Barry Teasdale on the ninth lap to move into 22nd.

By the end of the tenth lap, Hipwell had opened up a gap of half a second over Teasdale, but was three seconds adrift of the rider in front. On the 11th lap, Teasdale managed to not only close the gap but also get back past Hipwell.

As the race reached its conclusion, the Harworth man was about to retake Teasdale when his quick shifter broke and he had to settle for 23rd at the chequered flag.

The Superstock Championship now moves on to Brands Hatch in Kent for the second round over the weekend of April 13 to 15. The third round is at Oulton Park in Cheshire on May 5 to 7, followed by a round at Snetterton in Norfolk on June 15 to 17 and a trip to Knockhill in Scotland on July 6 to 8. There are 12 rounds in all.