Lisburn's Carl Phillips prevails for Ulster Superbike title success on 11-year-old Suzuki after mid-season split

Carl Phillips with the 11-year-old Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 on which he clinched the Ulster Superbike title.
Carl Phillips with the 11-year-old Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 on which he clinched the Ulster Superbike title.
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Carl Phillips wrapped up the Ulster Superbike title at the final round on Saturday at St. Angelo in Enniskillen.

Phillips finished third in the only Superbike race held at the airfield circuit after the event was abandoned.

Lisburn man Carl Phillips finished third at St. Angelo in Enniskillen on Saturday to win the Ulster Superbike Championship.

Lisburn man Carl Phillips finished third at St. Angelo in Enniskillen on Saturday to win the Ulster Superbike Championship.

A frightening incident saw a machine veer toff the track after a rider was caught out in the wet conditions.

The bike, travelling at high speed, eventually came to rest at a hot-food van, but fortunately no one was seriously hurt.

After the near-miss and with the weather deteriorating, the organisers decided to call a halt to the meeting.

However, Phillips – who won the Irish Supersport title in 2014 – had done enough to clinch the Superbike championship after finishing third behind Alistair Kirk and Ryan Gibson.

Kirk, riding the AKR McCurry BMW, won with over 20 seconds in hand from Gibson, who was less than a second ahead of Phillips.

After a dominant start to the season on Jason McCaw’s Kawasaki, with Phillips winning 11 of the first 13 races, he parted company from the team.

The 25-year-old missed a round of the series afterwards at Bishopscourt, but Phillips returned to finish off the campaign on an 11-year-old Suzuki and his perseverance paid off as he won the title by 11 points from Kirk.

He told the News Letter: “I was riding an 11-year-old Suzuki, the old K9 model. I split from Jason McCaw around the middle of the season and I just rode the Suzuki to finish the year off.

“If I’d been on the other bike I’d have cleared off but on the old bike it was so hard to compete at the front. I missed two rounds of the championship as well,” he added.

“I won the Irish Supersport Championship in 2014 so it’s nice to add the Superbike title to that as well and get the job done after everything. It’s been a bit of craic this season more than anything.

“We went out on Saturday night for a few drinks to celebrate so I’ve a sore head today!”

Reflecting on Saturday’s rain-hit meeting, Phillips said he knew he simply had to register a solid finish in order to be crowned Ulster champion.

“It was soaking wet for our race and then the second one was called off,” he said.

“I knew what I had to do to win the title and I wasn’t going to take any silly risks to try and get a result; I just rode round steady to finish third and that was it.

“The second race was called off after a bike headed straight through a barrier towards the crowd and hit a chip van. It was quite late at that point and the weather was getting a lot worse too, so that was it finished.”

Looking ahead to next season, Phillips says he has no concrete plans at present, although he does intend to return to the North West 200 after making his road racing debut at the event in May in the Supertwin class on the ILR/Mark Coverdale Paton.

“At the minute I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next year. I’ll be looking to go back to the North West 200 again after making my debut this year,” he said.

“To go back to the British championship probably isn’t on the cards because of my own work commitments and plus it’s a money pit as well and teams are looking a fortune.”

Stephen McKeown won the Lightweight Supersport race on Saturday from Damian Horgan, while young gun Rossi Dobson was victorious in the Moto3 race from Melissa Kennedy, who finished ahead of her brother Wayne in third.

Gary McCoy and Darryl Tweed were the respective Supertwin and Production Twin race winners.

After the final round, the championship winners are (subject to appeals): Supersport – Jason Lynn; Supertwin – Gary McCoy; Superbike Cup – Lee Chambers; Supersport Cup – Michael Owens; Moto3 – Gary Scott; Lightweight Supersport – Stephen McKeown; Production Twin – Mark Abraham; Pre Injection – Johnny Irwin; Supersport 300 – Cameron Dawson; Junior Cup – Ajay Carey; Young Guns – Karl Lynch; Sidecar – Derek Lynch; Classic 250 – Brian Matthews; Classic 350 – Mark Johnson; Classic 1000 – Alex Conroy; Classic 500 – Lewis McClements.

The final Irish short circuit meeting of the season is the prestigious Sunflower Trophy event at Bishopscourt from October 25-26.