Problems with his right arm forced Harworth hotshot Dean Hipwell to retire early in a disappointing second round of the British Superstock 1000 Championship.
Competing alongside the British Superbike Championship event on his CDH Racing-backed BMW at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Hipwell suffered from arm pump issues throughout the weekend.
And after dropping through the field to finish 17th in the initial race, the pain got so bad that the 28-year-old had to call it a day altogether in the feature race.
Friday and Saturday’s free practice sessions saw Hipwell comfortably within the top 15, which boded well for the qualifying session late on Saturday afternoon.
After that session, in which he lapped the short Indy circuit faster than he had previously, he started in 13th on the grid for Sunday afternoon’s 27-lap opening race.
The contest got under way in bright, dry conditions, and Hipwell made a steady start, moving up into 12th by the end of the first lap. He held this position for the next two laps before being overtaken by the Suzuki of Alex Olson and Tom Tunstall’s BMW.
Hipwell held off the challenge of a group of riders behind him for the next seven laps before moving up himself into 13th. He led a group of four riders covered by just one and a half seconds and held this position for the next eight laps before being overtaken by the Kawasaki of Mason Law.
By now, however, Hipwell was starting to be affected by the problems in his right arm, which made it difficult to control the throttle and front brake. Over the remaining seven laps, he gradually started to drop down the field to cross the finishing line in 17th place.
Afterwards he said he was disappointed with this result as he knew he should have been able to pass the riders in front and not let the others get by him. Despite this, his fastest lap would see him start from 17th for the Bank Holiday Monday feature race.
Hipwell and the CDH Team decided to make a slight modification to the position of the handlebars to see if this could alleviate the problem. But it proved not to be the case as during Monday morning’s warm-up session, he was still affected and even doubted if he would be able to last the full 24-lap race.
Almost as soon as the race started, Hipwell fell back to 18th, and lap two saw him lose another two spots. As the race progressed, he surrendered further ground as the arm pump problem affected his ability to properly control the throttle and front brake.
By the end of the 12th lap, he had dropped back into 23rd place, and on the next lap, he decided to withdraw from the action as it was becoming nearly impossible to continue.
Hipwell and the CDH racing team were desperately frustrated with the outcome, and have two weeks before the next round of the championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire to try and find a cure for his debilitating problem. It is threatening to have a severe, damaging impact on his successful motorcycling career, which previously saw him finish as high as fourth in the British Supersport Championship.