Bikes: Race Of The Year for Sykes

Tom Sykes has finished his season on a high by taking pole position, race win and the lap record yesterday at Mallory Park during the Race of the Year.

Sykes and his superfast Rizla Suzuki headed free practice, qualifying and continued in that vein with a dominant win. The race got off to a complicated start with a faller on the warm-up lap halting proceedings. Due to this incident, the 20 lap race was reduced to 18 laps instead. As soon as the lights went out, Sykes got his head down taking the holeshot and gradually gapping the chasing Karl Harris.

The short 1.39-mile track saw back markers come into play just six laps in and as Sykes cut his way through them it allowed Harris to close him down. Sykes continued to concentrate on the job in hand putting in the fastest lap of the race on lap 8, setting a new record time of 51.271 seconds. He came over the line on the back wheel of his Rizla Suzuki 2.772secs clear of Harris signing off his superb season on a high. His name will now join Hailwood, Agostini, Surtees and Sheene on the much-coveted Race of the Year trophy.

Tom Sykes:

"That was a good race. I think the lights caught everybody out as they went off very suddenly. Thankfully I'd the revs up on the old girl and I got away well. It was a straight forward race and I had good race pace. The only difficult thing was the back markers as they took away what had been a comfortable gap to almost nothing in just half a lap. So I put my head down and went for it.

"I've had a fantastic season with Rizla Suzuki and I'd like to thank Jack Valentine, my Team Manager, for all the opportunities. Plus a big thanks need to go to my Crew Chief Pete Jennings and my technicians Stuart, Simon and Dan."

Jack Valentine - Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:

"What a way to end the year. Tom did an awesome job and looked comfortable and in control from start to finish. He rode a perfect race and I'm very proud of what he has achieved today - and of course during the season. We had a tough start to the year but Rizla Suzuki worked together as a team and came up with the goods. I'm thrilled with how today has gone."

Race results:

1: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) 15:35.1972: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +2.7723: Glen Richards (Triumph) +21.3254: Daniel Hagerty (Yamaha) +28.3285: James Westmoreland (Triumph) +30.9986: Kenny Gilbertson (Kawasaki) +31.1277: Pete Ward (Kawasaki) +46.7478: James Hillier (Kawasaki) +46.7909: Peter Baker (Suzuki) +49.26410: Jenny Tinmouth (Honda) +1 lap