John McGuinness netted Hawk Kawasaki's first ever road racing podium at the weekend in a nail-biting photo finish to the Ulster GP superbike race.

McGuinness, who races for Hawk in the THINK! British Superbike championship, took second place, just 0.08 seconds behind winner Bruce Anstey, after an epic seven lap battle with the Kiwi.

Practice and qualifying for the event were washed out by torrential rain so McGuinness, who has only raced at the Ulster GP once before on a 600, got a good start to join the leaders by the first corner.

A race-long battle with Suzuki-mounted roads specialist Anstey ensued, which pulled the pair 11 seconds clear of third placed man Ryan Farquhar by the finish.

"I was really excited and fired-up before the event because a lot of people didn't think the Kawasaki would cut it on the roads," said McGuinness afterwards. "That just made me more determined to make it work.

"Because we hadn't tested on the roads we had no figures for gearing, set-up or anything and the whole thing was a bit of a stab in the dark really," he continued. "We geared the bike for 195mph, changed a few things to what we thought would work and I ended up getting the hole-shot and leading the race for most of the way. People forget that while I've done the NW200 and the TT lots of times I've only ever done the Ulster GP once before and that was on a 600 - and there's a massive difference between riding a 600 and a superbike round there, I can tell you.

"When I was leading I didn't have any braking markers because I hadn't got the experience of leading the race on a big bike. Because of that Anstey got past me, then I went back past him and we were dicing for the lead all the way round. Considering his TAS Suzuki team have done the Ulster GP several times before and we were new to it I think we did a pretty good job. It's thanks to the hard work of the Hawk team and the fact the ZX-10R is such a sorted bike that we were able to come away with this result."

Hawk Kawasaki Team Principal Stuart Hicken was extremely pleased by the way both rider and machine.

"It's always difficult racing against guys who are used to riding on the road with a good set-up, but our bike adapted exceedingly well and I'm very pleased with it," he said.

"The Ulster GP is, I believe, the fastest circuit in Europe and that makes it all the more difficult, but we learnt a lot more about the bike and it's another stage in the bike's development that will improve it further for short circuit racing. I'm over the moon with the result - anywhere in the top three would have done me. I've not been involved with road racing since 1994, when I went over to the North West 200 with Robert Dunlop, so it's nice for our team to have a go and do what they've done. I'm delighted for both John and the team."