The Lisburn City Council Superstock race opened Ulster Grand Prix proceedings at a sunny Dundrod with the huge crowds lining the circuit entertained by an amazing dual between Ian Hutchinson and Keith Amor.
It was a stunning start to the day as they raced nose to tail, side-by-side and handlebar to handlebar clear of the rest of the pack.
Amor had a 1.4 second lead at the end of lap three of seven, but Hutchinson was on the move closing to within two-tenths of Amor at the end of lap four with a new lap record of 132.163mph.
On lap five Hutchy was in front at Wheelers, where a lap later Amor repaid the gesture to retake the lead.
However, just as the leaders swept through the start/finish area to start their final lap the red flags came out to stop the race — the result of an accident at Quarterlands where Dave Hewson crashed and his wayward machine ploughed into spectators.
Hewson and two spectators were transferred to hospital where one of the spectators is reported to be in a critical condition.
The result of the race was declared from lap five and Hutchinson, the only time he led across the finish line,was declared the winner three-tenths ahead of Amor.
Ryan Farquhar held off Ian Lougher and Gary Johnson for third despite an oil leak on his Kawasaki that was to rule him out of the later superbike races.
In the 250cc race, Ian Lougher had no equals racing to a comfortable ten-second victory over William Dunlop who had cousin Paul Robinson a further 19 seconds adrift The only real action was the battle for fourth which eventually went to Daley Mathison by a bike length from Davy Morgan.
Lougher is the second most successful rider at the UGP behind Joey Dunlop after this victory. In the concurrently ran supertwins race, Farquhar was equally dominant winning by almost a minute from Dungannon’s John Burrows.
Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year contract with Ducati next season.
The reigning MotoGP world champion will part company with Fiat Yamaha at the end of the current campaign. A Ducati statement read: “The arrival of Valentino in Ducati opens a new and exciting chapter in the Italian factory's sporting history and of the whole MotoGP Championship.”