One year on from the bitter disappointment of a final race title defeat, Scottish rider Stuart Easton clinched the Motorpoint British Supersport crown to erase the painful memories experienced by Northern Ireland team Mar-Train Racing at Brands Hatch in 2012.
Dubliner Jack Kennedy had appeared on course to give Tim Martin’s team a sensational championship success last October, but a technical issue forced him out of contention and cost the Ulster outfit a glorious victory in its maiden season in the series.
However, the heartbreaking circumstances of Kennedy’s cruel luck 12 months ago were in stark contrast to the wild scenes of celebration on Sunday as Easton lifted the title following a tense race on the Yamaha R6, edging out Carrickfergus man Alastair Seeley on the Gearlink Kawasaki.
It was all to play for after Seeley finished second in Saturday’s opening race to close the gap to four points as Easton struggled to 11th place in the damp.
The Hawick rider, who was badly injured in a horror crash at the North West 200 in 2011, started the final race from the fourth row of the grid with Seeley on pole.
The initial race was red-flagged when heavy rain began to fall and the re-start was declared a wet race.
On a greasy but drying track, Easton fought his way through the pack to close in on Saturday’s winner Richard Cooper and Seeley, passing both to take the lead of the race on the tenth lap.
As rain began to fall once more, Seeley hit back to take the lead but the red flags came out due to a crash on the 11th lap and Easton was declared the winner on the count-back from Cooper and Seeley, who missed out on the title by 23 points in the end.
A delighted Easton, who won ten races this season, said: “It’s been a nervous couple of days and if I’m honest I wasn’t pleased with my performance in yesterday’s race finishing 11th. Everyone was working out the stats but I knew if I won the race then I would be the champion – it was a simple as that.
“The conditions were far from ideal and a red flag is not the way anyone wants to see the season end, but I was in front when it mattered and I’m delighted to be 2013 British Supersport champion.”