CARL Phillips lifted the Ulster Superbike Championship as rain and an incident during the Cup race ended action early at the St Angelo series finale.
It looked to be going down to the wire, but a big crash and deteriorating weather meant the club had to call off the meeting prematurely.
Title favourite Phillips started the day with a 20 point advantage over Ali Kirk, the only rider who could stop him from clinching the 2019 crown.
Kirk, who qualified on pole, blasted the opposition in the opening Superbike race bringing his AKR McCurry Motorsport BMW home almost 21sec ahead of second-placed Ryan Gibson.
Phillips, who trailed back in fourth, managed to steal third place from Barry Graham on the final lap when the trio battling for second came upon back markers going into the penultimate corner.
With Kirk scoring maximum points and Philips only managing 16 the deficit was narrowed going into the final race to 11 points. And with Kirk’s form from the first race, it looked like the championship was anyone of the leading pair’s to win.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as a frightening crash in the Superbike/Supersport Cup race curtailed the day.
A rider’s throttle stuck open going down the back straight and the bike careered upright, crashing through a spectators barrier and coming to rest between two food vans in the paddock. Fortunately, there was no one seriously hurt.
While the debris was being cleared up the weather seriously deteriorated, leaving the organising club no choice but to abandon the meeting, which ultimately handed Phillips the title.
The former BSB paddock regular started his challenge for the championship in superb form winning 11 of the first 13 races. He then missed a couple of races and parted with the JMC Roofing team, continuing the rest of the season on his own Suzuki GSXR 1000, but on the under-powered older machine he struggled to produce the same results.
It looked like Kirk might take the championship in the final race but luck wasn’t on his side and the cancellation secured Phillips the championship crown.
But there were other winners in the three races that were run before the meeting was abandoned as Gary McCoy took another victory in the Supertwin race ahead of Stephen McKnight and Paul Gartland in third while Darryl Tweed won the Production Twin race.
Dermot Cleary won the Pre Injection race, with Trevor Elliott and Jonny Irwin second and third.
In the Moto3 / Lightweight Supersport race, 2019 champion Stephen McKeown carried on his winning form to bag another victory as Damien Horan was runner up ahead of Scotsman Kris Duncan in third.
Rossi Dobson was the first Moto3 machine home ahead of sister and brother duo Melissa and Wayne Kennedy.
*Images: Derek Wilson