Hill looks back on love of BSB
Hill looks back on love of BSB

Tommy Hill is one of the best known names in the British Superbikes because of his 2011 victory in the title decider over John Hopkins.

Since then he has taken on the team manager and team owner roles within the series and now he is involved in designing some of the best liveries on the grid.

We caught up with Tommy to talk to him about his success in the BSB both on and off the track, but there was only one place to start and that was in 2011.

Speaking about that defining moment of his career, Tommy said: “It’s something you always dream off. Right from the start of your career it’s your ambition to win the championship, but to win it in that way, that close was just amazing.

“Obviously it was a spectacle people still talk about as one of the best motorsport races ever! So to be a part of that with John was special. We had both gone through some difficult periods the years prior to the race and we both had no excuses, we both wanted to win that much we put everything on the line.”

Since hanging up his leathers Tommy has been involved off the track but there is nothing that quite replaces that buzz of racing.

He added: “For sure I do miss the racing. It’s been a part of my life since six years of age. I felt the sport was going through a bit of a change over the period during the previous 2-3 years leading up to the championship win.

“Sponsorship was getting a little more difficult, people wanted more, there was more politics involved which in turn took the enjoyment out of racing a bike. I had planned on starting a family with my wife, we had purchased our new home, and we planned on getting married so I suppose I was looking at a new chapter of my life.

“I put so much energy, passion and dedication into my racing that I also felt like this took away the fun factor. I wanted to win so much that anything other than a win was just ok. For sure this is the attitude you need to win, but I feel this also has a detrimental effect of enjoying the moment, and enjoying the last win!”

Tommy had his eyes opened to a different way of being involved with racing, when he took on and managed the BeWiser team.

“Running the BeWiser team was a great feeling, I arranged most of the sponsorship deals, all the team setup, branding, and image, pretty much everything.

“The only thing I wasn’t in control of was the account and team budget. Unfortunately my so called partner in this had a different plan, and we parted ways. That was the end of that story, such a shame as we had a good budget, great sponsors and an exciting plan.”

“After many sleepless nights, sponsor negotiations and meetings I managed to re-sign most of the original sponsors from the year before and setup my own team in 2016. Yes it was very hard work for sure. I had loads of hurdles to overcome from the get go.

“Technicians causing lots of issues and paddock issues halted progress at the start, but once I sorted a great bunch of team staff, raised over 600k sponsorship we were ready to go racing. For 3 months I setup the whole team myself, everything from bikes, parts, design, hospitality, pit equipment, sponsorship everything down to the masking up of the fairing kits for the bike painting and printing stickers – I did it all.

“This wasn’t what I planned initially as I had guys planned to start work, due to the issues I had out of my control I had to make it work, and I did. Unfortunately our sponsors were unable to continue through to year two. So I spent another three months trying to secure another team sponsor to drive the project forward. This never happened. So to protect current team partners, team personnel and my current financial situation I had to decide to stop running the team. 

“I would run a team again, but only management. I have gained so much experience over the years, riding in teams, working with good crew chiefs, running teams I feel can bring a lot to the party.

“I generally now put all of my energy and drive into my design business. If the opportunity arose and the proposal was structured with good backing I would love to be back in the paddock.”

Hill has since turned his attention to running his own design company and he has made a massive success of it, working with some of the brightest and biggest within the paddock.

He said: “Running my design company is always been something I have wanted to do from an early age. I die some work experience with a guy called Jim Gayle from Werx Graffix when I was around 12 years old.

“I got the bug and said one day I want to own a design business, and print graphics. Here we are now. I have been doing design work ever since I left school, 20 years ago. I purchased a sticker machine at 16 and the rest is history. Running under Tommy Hill Promotions, I now work with lots of race teams, riders and also do the marketing design work for a few brands in the industry too. Lots of this has been put on hold due to the COVID-19. I really do love what I do, I am in control of making it happen and also try to offer everything in house so I don’t let anyone down. 

“I do a fair bit of design and graphic work for Jake Dixon and have done over the past few years but recently I have taken on the role to help support Alex Olsen with all of his media, sponsorship activation and marketing work.

“I work to secure sponsorship for him and will help manage this throughout the season. There was a great synergy between a few of his original sponsors who I also did some design work for in the past, so we merged it all together and made it work. It’s great to be able to utilise what I can offer on the marketing side and also help support Alex on and off track too, with some guidance using my experience.

“I amm managing as best as I can with the COVID-19 situation. It’s put the whole country on lockdown which halts everything from business, racing and general living. I am also at a higher risk due to an accident when racing motocross, so I am advised by the NHS to be even stricter with the isolation.

“I am lucky enough to be able to try and utilise my time with the kids at home, do the occasional bit of work that’s coming in. Everyone’s health comes first, so we as a family are just trying to make the best of a bad situation. Trying to keep motivated, making crafts, making cakes, keeping active and spending time with the kids is great.”