2011 British Superbike champion Tommy Hill has announced that he will be taking a year-long sabbatical from racing for the 2013 season.
The Kent rider has released a statement stating that his failure to secure a seat at world championship level has prompted the decision, citing a desire to move forwards from the British championship.
He further explains that he has spent most of his life 'basically revolving every day to day activity around his racing' and that the time has come to relax.
He goes on to express an interest to stay in racing.
"But I really hope I can keep involved in the sport throughout 2013, either with a Championship, or manufacturer, passing my knowledge over, or doing some track-days and see what can potentially happen in 2014"
Hill had been linked with one of the seats at Paul Bird's CRT team, but this decision could potentially hint that Shane Byrne, who was the team's preferred choice, has decided to move to MotoGP with the Cumbrian outfit.
Read Hill's full statement on page 2.
It is with great sadness that I will be deciding to have a break from the sport in 2013. After a yet another hard fought year.
I have been trying long and hard over the last few months to make a step up in the sport, I have started to realise the difficulty and what funds it takes to allow me to excel from my current position and move forward with my career.
I have spent several years now riding at my current level, and sacrificing everything. Winning the title last season I hoped would have given me the opportunity to secure a ride in a higher tier.
Over the last few years we have seen the British Superbike Championship grow in stature and gain a bigger following, but there comes a point in anyone's life when they want to move forward, or feel they need to have a break from whatever they are doing in life.
As you may know I have sustained some big injuries over my years of racing and have missed only one racing season since I was 7 years old. To succeed at some things in life you have to be selfish, or some may say driven, and for many years of my career I have been just that. Eat, sleep, drink racing.
From the time the alarm goes off, I'm training, dieting, putting unnecessary pressure on myself at times, not to do things until I get a result. Basically revolving every day to day activity around my racing. I have or may take my racing too seriously at times, and have always made my racing come first.
But there comes a point when we may all need to take a step backwards and realise there is more to life…
Looking forward, this may come as a shock to a lot of people, supporters and fans out there. But I really hope I can keep involved in the sport throughout 2013, either with a Championship, or manufacturer, passing my knowledge over, or doing some track-days and see what can potentially happen in 2014!
In the foreseeable future, I will continue with my design business (Imagedzign) give tuition on track-day's and possibly continue to keep in contact with race teams, and riders within the business over the next year.
And basically enjoy my off season and try to relax a bit…Once again a massive thanks to all my supporters out there, every, race, dealer, track-day or promotional event I have attended this season has been great, and have always had a fantastic reception.
A huge thank you to my fans my team and all my sponsors for their continued support throughout 2012.
Yours in sport,