Motorcycling: Glen Richards scoops British title
Glen Richards won the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship in the most dramatic of circumstances.
There were only 8.5 points separating the Hinckley rider and main challenger Jack Kennedy going into the final race of round 12 at Brands Hatch.
Disaster struck early when, on the second lap, Richards missed a gear on his Smiths (Gloucester) Team Triumph and crashed out. It meant Kennedy just needed to finish to clinch the title.
Then came another dramatic twist when, on lap eight, the Irishman's MarTrain Yamaha hit problems, and he was forced to retire.
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Richards was on his way back to the pits at the time, no doubt cursing his missed opportunity, when he was told about his rival's misfortune.
"I really don't know how to describe this weekend, it's just been crazy and it's certainly been a roller-coaster," said Richards.
"Both Jack and I have had bad luck during the course of the year and I wanted to win the championship in style so it's not the way I wanted to win it and I really feel for Jack, but that's racing I guess. I can't believe it really. I missed a gear and ran through the gravel and then tipped off, which meant I couldn't restart.
"I sat there at the side of the track trying not to bawl my eyes out and then, coming back on the taxi bike, I got the news. "You never want to win a championship under these kind of circumstances but I have been really lucky. Someone has been looking after me upstairs.
"To end the year as British Champion is superb and the team have done an awesome job all year, so hats off to them."
It was also a triumphant weekend for Richards' team-mate and fellow Hinckley rider Billy McConnell, who cemented overall third with two first places.
Saturday's 10-lap sprint race was a real thriller but McConnell crossed the line for his fifth win of the season, with Kennedy second and Richards third.
With both the leading two out before halfway in Sunday's 18-lapper, a determined McConnell battled it out with Christian Iddon and Richard Cooper, before taking the flag nine-hundreths of a second ahead of the latter after the former had crashed out with just two laps to go.
"Both races were incredibly hard with lots of close racing and wheel-to-wheel action," said McConnell.
"I had a bit of a coming together with Christian on more than one occasion so it's a shame he crashed, but I'm very happy to have ended with another victory.
"Both Glen and Jack deserved the championship and it's been a fantastic year in Supersport."