GERARD Kinghan bagged two wins from three at Bishopscourt this weekend to lift the the Wiz Knee Sliders Superbike trophy.
And while he missed out on a clean sweep thanks to Alistair Kirk’s final race victory, the Kawasaki rider hauled enough points to be crowned the Ulster SBK champ with two rounds still to run.
After coming up just 0.169s shy of pole position in second qualifying thanks to Kirk’s 1:08.173, Kinghan had to settle for second on the grid, right next to his title rival, while Luke Johnston, Ryan Gibson and Aaron Armstrong completed the front row.
When the lights went out, AKR/McCurry Motorsport man Kirk grabbed the early advantage ahead of Armstrong and Kinghan, but it didn’t take Kinghan long to get by Armstrong and then lever Kirk aside the very next lap.
Although Kirk tried to match Kinghan’s pace at the front, the title favourite beat Kirks’ BMW to the line by 0.777s to take victory while JMC/Gibson Motors’ Ryan Gibson stuck a late pass on Armstrong to take third.
It was more of the same in race two, but this time Kinghan led lights-to-flag to double up on wins while Kirk narrowed his margin of victory to just 0.274s, leaving Gibson to fend off Stephen McAdoo and Unlimited Industries’ Johnston for the final podium spot.
Kinghan looked set for a hat-trick to complete his championship-winning weekend, but a bad start in the final race left him struggling to make up places, eventually crossing the line just 1.5s clear of Armstrong and 8.4s down on Kirk, who had stormed to the win.
With his blue riband Ulster Superbike crown in hand, an 11-race win streak and the Joe Lindsay Memorial Cup to boot, Kinghan paid tribute to his close friend, who recently passed away.
“After a nightmare week with the sudden death of our great friend Darryl, it was nice to win the Ulster Superbike Championship with a win in his memory,” he said.
*Images: Derek Wilson