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Dennis Hobbs wins the 2014 Ducati TriOptions Cup

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After a year-long battle in the 2014 Ducati TriOptions Cup, Dennis Hobbs finally overcame team-mate Leon Morris in the final race of the year to take championship glory for P&H Motorcycles/Carl Cox Motorsport. The prestigious one-make series was won by just 21 points after 16 flat-out showdowns this year.

Morris led the points table from the opening race of the season at Brands Hatch back in April, and since then the TriOptions Cup has raced the length and breadth of the UK, and even overseas at the iconic Assen Circuit. A first DNF of the year in the penultimate race on Saturday for Morris handed Hobbs the standings lead by a slender seven points. What’s more, the 2011 series victor sustained a finger injury which further put him on the back foot for the final contest.

As the lights went out for the last time it was Morris who made the best start, jumping up to second place behind pole-sitter and outgoing champion Marty Nutt. The JHP/Ducati Coventry rider could only hold top spot for the first lap, however, as a resurgent Hobbs was a man on a mission. He blasted through to the lead and immediately began to gap the field, and as Morris scrapped behind with a number of riders, Hobbs kept his head and powered to a commanding victory and overall championship glory.

Despite his best efforts, Morris began to drop down the order as the laps ticked by, crossing the line in fifth place at the chequered flag just behind Darren Fry who secured his best result of the year in fourth.

Jonathan Railton provided a fitting swansong for the Ducati 848, securing his only outright podium of the season and the last for the model which will not be eligble to race in the 2015 TriOptions Cup. He swapped positions with Nutt numerous times, but ultimately had to concede second place to the #1 899 Panigale on the last lap.

It was a fitting end to another thrilling year of Ducati racing in the British championship, and with the series confirmed for next season, we’ll be sure to see plenty more action from the TriOptions Cup.

2014 Ducati TriOptions Cup champion Dennis Hobbs said: “I don’t know what to say – and I’m not normally lost for words! I came into this weekend knowing that I had to win races and I was quickest in practice and qualifying. Then in race one it was all going really well, but I had a huge moment and I was so lucky to stay on the bike. Unfortunately Leon went down which put the pressure on me today, so I just had to try and stay calm.

“The last few laps were the longest laps I’ve ever done – you start worrying about everything but the bike didn’t let me down. I’m just over the moon for the whole team – the family is here to share the moment and it’s just awesome. I’m looking forward to next year already! Hopefully I’ll be back on an 899 again next year, it’s been a great year for me – one of the best I’ve ever had.”

2014 Ducati TriOptions Cup runner-up Leon Morris said: “I threw it away yesterday really – having led it from the start and been quick in every kind of conditions at every track it went wrong at the vital moment. Before I’d even had time to think about getting ahead of Dennis yesterday I was on the floor – I’ve ridden today because anything can happen, but I’m devastated not to win. On the flip side I’m pleased for the team – they deserve the championship more than anyone, and while its unfortunate for me that I couldn’t give it to them, thankfully Dennis did – so congratulations to both him and the team. Now I’ve got a reason to come back – I expect you’ll see us again next year!”

P&H Managing Director Paul Searle said: “The whole year has been one big highlight for us! What a fantastic result with the one-two, and having two great riders who are also really nice guys to work with makes the whole atmosphere in the team so enjoyable. The guys at P&H give up huge amounts of time to make this happen, so this is a perfect result for everyone involved.”

Outgoing champion Marty Nutt said: “I’ve absolutely loved riding the new bike, it’s improved a lot since the start of the year. We started off a bit slow, but from Knockhill onwards we were back at front-running pace. Unfortunately by then the top guys had capitalised and moved out of reach, but even still every weekend has been so much fun – this championship is what racing is all about for me.”

848 class winner Jonathan Railton said: “I’ve been trying all year to get that overall podium and it finally happened in the last race! It’s been a personal preference to ride the 848 – it really suits my riding style and I’ve really enjoyed racing it this year.”

Managing Director of Ducati UK, Tim Maccabee, said: “The Ducati brand has an amazing racing heritage, and I'm proud to say that the TriOptions Cup has continued the tradition of top-level motor racing and become an integral part of the British championships. We’re really looking forward to next year and are already making plans – the support for the riders and teams this year has been amazing and we’re sure that 2015 will be even bigger and better!”

Ducati UK would like to thank all the teams, riders and sponsors involved in the 2014 TriOptions Cup for making it another thrilling year. We look forward to seeing you again in 2015.

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