Lap 7 and McWilliams was still the fastest man on the track, his lead now over 14secs – with the track now over 10secs faster than it had been during the warm-up.
One lap later and Alzamora was 0.5secs faster than the #99 machine, signalling that perhaps the time had come when they would be faster – while Harada flew into the pits from seventeenth – for a double (front and rear) tyre change! Such was the dryness of the track, at almost exactly the halfway point.
Lap 11 of 18 and McWilliams was in control, having broken Alzamora's spirit to maintain his lead at 13-14secs – despite the track conditions now playing into the hands of the slick shod runners in second and third, with Guintoli now up to fourth.
In the next few laps McWilliams continued to pull away
from Alzamora, the Ulsterman's eyes staring intensely through his un-coloured visor, as he rode at a blisteringly pace around the legendary track.
4 to go and McWilliams was now 18secs ahead out front, and lapped his teammate Knowles, while the British and Ulster flags in the packed crowd gained momentum, as they began to see the long, long wait for a McWilliams GP victory - possibly - coming to an end.
Into the last two laps, and fingernails were being bitten to the bone in the McWilliams pits, after so long, so many disappointments, could the day have finally come?
McWilliams crossed the line for the penultimate time to start the final 6kms – the longest 6kms of McWilliams' life. The hard-as-nails veteran completed his last lap in majestic fashion, showboating his way home, waving his fist and wheeling over the line before being mobbed on his slow down lap by the ecstatic British fans, whom he delighted with burn-outs while they gave him enough pats on the back to last a lifetime – he deserved every one.
Full results to follow…
2. Alzamora +16.371secs
3. de Gea +38.409secs
4. Guintoli +39.214secs
5. Battaini +1min 09.461secs
6. Melandri +1min 29.468secs
7. Boscoscuro +1min 37.463secs
8. Chiarello +1min 41.959secs