Dean Hipwell and CDH Racing Team endured a frustrating time during last weekend’s British Supersport meeting at Brands Hatch, writes Roy Cross.
The Harworth rider suffered a series of problems throughout which saw him fail to record a finish in the main race, and only manage 16th in the sprint.
Hipwell had high hopes for a top ten finish and was encouraged after each of Friday’s practice sessions saw him post the 12th quickest lap times.
However the early optimism was soon dashed on Saturday morning during qualifying for the afternoon’s sprint race.
Hipwell was repeatedly forced to return to the pit lane after appearing to be covered in oil, each time the team felt they had dealt with the issue but it persisted.
Despite managing to complete 12 laps, the issues forced him to begin the race from 20th place on the grid.
The team were able to rectify the issue of the oil leak in time for the afternoon’s race, however Hipwell was overtaken on the first lap by Kawasaki’s Josh Corner leaving him to complete the first 3 laps in 21st position.
Moving through the gears, Hipwell managed to get back in front of a couple of riders and, due to a crash further forward, he found himself up into 18th.
Hipwell then managed to advance further in lap six and seven and found himself in 16th place where he finished after an intense battle, leaving him wondering what might have been after the issues experienced in qualifying.
More engine overheating in qualifying for Sunday’s main event once again saw Hipwell qualify in 20th place, but after maintenance from his team there was optimism that he could at least score some championship points.
Hipwell got away to a good start in the race passing both the Kawasaki of Tim Hastings and the Yamaha of Ben Field leaving him just less than two tenths of a second behind the Kawasaki of Josh Corner. Lap three saw him get past Corner and open up a gap two tenths of a second to put him in 17th place - eight hundredths of a second behind Alex Olsens Kawasaki.
Lap six saw Hipwell get passed Olsen and open up a gap of half a second as he closed in on David Allingham’s Yamaha who he caught and overtook on the next lap to put him into fifthteenth.
Hipwell was now in the championship points and looking to make inroads to the riders in front but a technical disaster struck again in the form of a ninth lap dead engine, ending his hopes of point scoring for the weekend.
Consolation can be taken from the weekend in the form of Hipwell’s lap of under 1 minute 30 seconds, but the meeting will be remembered as a disappointment for him and his team.
Photo via Roy Cross.