Burning Rubber: Hobbs battles on

A battered and bruised Dennis Hobbs is lining up for his second race of the year today - less than a week since a spectacular crash almost left him sidelined.

A battered and bruised Dennis Hobbs is lining up for his second race of the year today - less than a week since a spectacular crash almost left him sidelined.

Fans watched in horror last Monday as the Barnard Castle-based rider smashed headlong into the bike of rival Michael Laverty, during the opening round of the British Supersport Championship at Brands Hatch.

As cameras panned to the scene, TV audiences saw the 23-year-old lying motionless on the grass as the race was stopped and medics rushed to his aid.

And it looked like the region's only hope of a motorcycling champion this year had suffered serious injuries.

Yet after a week visiting hospitals and having passed a brain scan, Hobbsy was back on his Padgett's Honda on Friday morning determined to finish off what he started last weekend.

To make matters worse, Hobbs had started from pole and was almost certain to win the race.

The smash happened when Laverty, who had a fractional lead over Hobbs, highsided his Suzuki leaving Den nowhere to go but straight into the bike.

"There was nothing I could do, the bike went to the right then started to move to the left," he told Burning Rubber.

"I'd already moved left to avoid it and it was all over in a flash. I can't really remember, I just remember I had nowhere to go, and I hit it.

"I did mess myself up a bit. I've taken skin off the front of my neck which is like a bad burn, hurt my arm, bruised the inside of both knees, got a bit of a black eye, skinned my cheek so I can't shave, and there seems to be bruises everywhere.

"I've spent the last week in and out of hospitals in London. I had a brain scan and got the all-clear and have had to have dressings changed and stuff, but I'm fit to ride so that is a relief."

Hobbs, who had looked the strongest in the series all of last weekend, admits he is tired and sore - and just from speaking to him on the phone, it is clear he isn't a well man.

But for a rider who famously broke his neck three years ago and still raced, blissfully unaware he was millimetres from paralysis, it is not some- thing that will stop him.

"It does hurt, but I think you just put your head down and try to ride through the pain," he admitted.

"The accident was so frustrating because I knew I was faster than him, and I could've won.

"At the very worst I would've finished second, but his tyres were going and in the end he was the one who lost it.

"But I have taken some heart from that.

"I know I'm perhaps the fastest out there and even riding injured I'm pretty close to the pace.

"Whether or not I can win this weekend when I'm still bashed up I really don't know, but I'm going to try my best.

"I can't afford to have another non-scoring weekend - so I need to get the best result I can."

Bell Leading the way

Sidecar sensation Phil Bell leads the Northern Sidecar Championship which kicked off with four races in Ireland last weekend.

The 28-year-old from Bedlington enjoyed a win and a second in the first round at Bishops- court on Saturday, which he backed-up with a second and third at Kirkistown on Easter Monday.

Along with passenger James Neave, Bell had initially been nervous about the Kirkistown event.

"It really was a bit of an unknown quantity to both of us," he said.

"Unlike the first few meetings where only James was a newcomer to each circuit, we both had never seen this track before.

"Against the same opposition as Saturday we finished 2nd and 3rd. We now lead this championship by 11 points, which - as you can imagine - we're both thrilled about."

The next championship round is at East Fortune, Scotland, next weekend, and Phil is also making preparations for his assault on the UEM European championship.

He contests the latter - which kicks off in June - with multiple TT winner Darren Hope.

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