One rider’s sacking is another rider’s gain and when Karl Harris was shown the door last week, most pundits thought it was only a matter of time before Tommy Hill was confirmed as his replacement at Hydrex Honda.
Hill has had no regular job since losing his Honda world ride earlier this year. He subbed for injured Sylvain Guintoli on the Worx Suzuki in two BSB rounds but that came to an premature end when the Frenchman came back from injury earlier than expected.
Now Hill has a confirmed three meeting deal that takes him to the end of the season – enough time to put himself well and truly in the show window again.
“It’s obviously good for me,” said Hill. “I’d been talking to Shaun Muir (Hydrex Honda team boss) for some time about the possibilities for next year. I know he’s got some interesting plans coming up. And then we spoke again after Cadwell (after Harris had been sacked).
“I also had a call from Rob McElnea (Rob Mac Racing Motorsport Yamaha and Node 4 Yamaha) but I was in two minds what to do for a while about the end of season.
“I’d had two good meetings on the Worx Suzuki and got on with the team really, really well and we were looking maybe doing more (meetings this year). But then Sylvain (Guintoli) came back quicker than everyone expected and, quite rightly, he was back on the bike.
“So with three rounds left I thought, ‘is it best to hang fire and just concentrate on getting something sorted for 2010 – or should I ride?’ Being a racer, I wanted to get out and ride. I’ve seen what Stuart (Easton) has done on their bike and not only is he fast, he’s so consistent. If Stuart can do that, hopefully I can too.
“But it shows how cut-throat racing is. Karl’s not done a bad job but it all comes down to results these days.
“The pressure is now on me. It’s going to be a big learning curve – and I’m not sure yet if we’re going testing first. In some ways I’m thinking we might as well just turn up on the weekend and see how it goes. There’s enough track time to get comfortable on the bike.
“I’m back on a Honda again but at least this time, I’ll have people around me who can speak the same language!
“People are saying it’s risky to jump to another different bike at this time of the year – especially after I had those good rides on the Suzuki - but I’m just going to go for it.”