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"Fast Bikes", April 1, 2013

Tommy Hill


Tommy Hill

As robots go, few are as good company as Tommy Hill. BSB won’t be the same in 2013

Hi everyone, I’m taking a bit of time off in between swapping nappies to update Fast Bikes readers on what’s going on with me. You may have guessed I’m a Dad, as proud as any other. Little Harrison is six weeks old now, and we both love him rather a lot.

I guess I should talk a bit about last season, where I won more races, fastest laps, pole positions and podiums than anyone else, but still lost the title. To someone who didn’t know the sport, they’d be confused by that statement, but the new rules sometimes work in your favour – and sometimes not. After I won the title with Yamaha I even wrote a report afterwards saying how we could improve for 2012 as I don’t stand on my laurels.

So I was pumped for the season, but then before we even had one race, all the bullshit started. I tried to just be Tommy, but got caught up in things where I was trying to keep everyone happy, even if I wasn’t directly involved. I really don’t want to do politics, it wears me down, but before the first flag dropped I had stopped enjoying racing.

When you’re a racer, you’re employed to win. You’re also there to keep the sponsors happy, and to do your bit for the team. So you work hard, train hard and discipline yourself. Some people call it selfish, but I call it ‘driven’. With expectations, you also put lots of pressure on yourself to do all of this. You have to eat right, sleep right and be right – the total opposite of the old school.

When I started in BSB there were folk like Sean Emmett racing. Nowadays, however, nobody can afford to be like that. You can’t piss anybody off, or disappoint them, so the upshot is that us top modern racers, are robots. We’re robots because we have to be, but the sad fact is that it can make things, and us, seem a bit boring. It’s the way now, a bit corporate, but with so little money going round you do your part just to pay the rent. Although, you wouldn’t think there was little money, you’d think we were all rock stars while sat on the grid in shades, with birds hanging off us.

It’s hard to understand sometimes, what with the huge crowds BSB gets, where the money goes. It comes in, but nobody seems to know where it goes. Add in that most of us have to buy our rides ourselves, and rock stars we are not. Not one bit.

Some people think I’ve taken a year off because of money – that’s not true. I just had enough of pushing myself beyond the limit, while dealing with a lot of the bullshit in 2012. I just want a break to be with my family, to do something different again and to fall back in love with racing. I always wear my heart on my sleeve, have great friends and wonderful sponsors who I still thank every day. I still want to come back sometime, but just don’t expect it to be early - I have nappies to change!

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