An emotional Tom Sykes admits he is simply lost for words after sealing an incredible 2013 World Superbike Championship title at Jerez, twelve months after infamously missing out on the 2012 crown by half-a-point.
Coming into the final round with a 37 point advantage over Eugene Laverty, Sykes needed just a single third place finish to secure the crown, an objective he duly fulfilled in the opening race of the day.
A memorable moment for both himself and Kawasaki – which hadn't won a WSBK title for 20 years -, while Sykes admits the comfortable pre-event gap meant he could help but dream about becoming champion, he says it simply doesn't compare to actually experiencing it.
“Words cannot describe how I feel,” he beamed. “I am very level-headed but since Magny Cours there are moments where my mind started dreaming. When I was dreaming I had goose bumps and it was magical to even dream I could be world champion. But that was maybe 2 per cent of what I am feeling now after winning the title.
“World Champion, podium in the races and it has been an absolute pleasure to race with these guys this year. It was good for the championship that it got decided at the final round again, especially at this beautiful circuit, with these great fans. My team is mostly Spanish so it is a home round for them. The championship win has not fully sunk in yet but it will do soon, I'm sure.”
Sykes's success makes him only the fourth British rider to win the WSBK title, following on from Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson
and James Toseland, while he is only second in history to have achieved the feat riding a Kawasaki.
Furthermore, Sykes's title win comes 20 years after Scott Russell sealed the 1993 title for the Japanese firm, the American winning five races en route to the overall crown.
By contrast, Sykes ends the 2013 season with at least nine victories, while his eight dominant pole positions this season have helped him rise to fourth on the all-time Superpole list too.
Perhaps the most significant element of Sykes's title win, however, is the fact it comes four years after making his debut with a manufacturer that, at the time, was considered a minnow at WSBK level with just one fortuitous victory to its name in the last nine seasons.