Michael Laverty finally confirmed himself as the number one rider in the British Supersport Championship, taking the title for Relentless Suzuki with a penultimate round victory at Donington Park.
Ian Lowry played the perfect wingman's role for his senior team-mate and the 20-year-old Moira rider also hoisted himself back into second place in the championship with his efforts at the Derbyshire venue.
Laverty, who had set the pole position time in Saturday's combined qualifying sessions, only needed a fourth placed finish to secure the title, and in a race that was to run in two parts, the Toomebridge man kept his head while others failed to do so, taking the victory in a re-started eight-lap sprint on his Pirelli-shod GSX-R600.Credit must also to go Ian Lowry who held off the Padgett's pairing of Dennis Hobbs - Relentless Suzuki's only potential title spoiler - and John McGuinness while protecting Laverty at the front of the field in the closing stages. Lowry then shadowed Laverty across the line at the end of eight lap re-start, taking the fastest lap of the race as well as 20 championship points.
Michael Laverty, 'I'm just so relieved to have finally clinched the title but it hasn't sunk in yet. I knew after qualifying that I could have run an even faster pace than I did today but I wanted to keep it upright and out of trouble. I didn't have any big gaps but I just rode my own race and let the rest of them chase me. I haven't raced with Aaron Walker before so I didn't want to take any chances dicing with him, but Ian Lowry also did a good job and we weren't flustered by the red flag situation. I actually didn't know that Dennis Hobbs had gone out but another double podium for the team is great and a great way to clinch the championship. I was dubious about moving down from Superbike this year but it was 100% the right move and the Relentless Suzuki team has been superb for me. I have been comfy on the bike and also with the boys in the garage all year, so a big thanks to everyone involved.'
Ian Lowry, 'The team has worked hard for four years to win this championship so I'm really pleased for everyone at Relentless Suzuki and TAS Racing. Michael's away home with the championship but I'm also pleased with my weekend's work. I qualified well on the front row and everything was hunky dory in the first race before the oil spill, as I was sitting in second place just behind Michael. In the re-start I didn't get away just as well but I eventually got past Dennis Hobbs and Aaron Walker and again sat on the back of Michael. I possibly could have passed him on the last lap but I wasn't prepared to take any risks with so much at stake. I'm now 16 points ahead of Dennis in the championship so a Relentless Suzuki 'one-two' is still very much a possibility.'