British Supersport ace Jay Vincent has decided the time is right to hang up his helmet, after a long and distinguished career at the pinnacle of world motorbike racing.

The Barwell star has endured a dispiriting campaign in Supersport this year, ending up a lowly 11th in the championship with not even so much as a podium finish to his name, his best result a fifth place in the penultimate meeting at Silverstone. His Padgetts Honda team-mate Dennis Hobbs, meanwhile, racked up more than twice as many points on his way to fifth in the standings.

"I've given it a lot of thought, and after the tough year I've had I've decided to announce my retirement from professional racing," Vincent told Crash.net. "I want to call it a day at that and go onto something else.

"I've not got the results I felt I, the team or the bike deserved, which made me think maybe it was time. If you are thinking about retiring then you should do it as far as I'm concerned. I've always said I would never race just for the sake of it - the time is right and I'm happy with my decision."

The 34-year-old will go out of the sport with his head held high at the end of a successful career spanning almost two decades at the top. Indeed, had fate dealt him a kinder hand, he could even have added to his laurels with the British Supersport crown in his penultimate campaign.

"In 2005 I was in the running for the title but I broke my arm mid-season," he explained. "I thought I had got over the injury, but when this year got going it was obvious I still hadn't come back from it 100 per cent.

"I was lacking a bit of strength in my arm which meant I couldn't be quite as physical with the bike as I wanted to be. That cost me a lot of points in the early races and before I knew it I ended up stuck in a bit of a rut. The title was gone, my motivation was low and that's pretty much what prompted my decision.

"I'm getting older now and my bones are taking a lot longer to heal than they used to when I was 18 or 20. It's all about being competitive, and this year I wasn't as competitive as I have been in the past, whether that was down to my age, my injury or whatever.

"Being able to make the decision myself I think is better than for instance not being able to get a ride through lack of sponsorship or any other reason. I think if that was the case and I still wanted to race it would eat away at me more."

Looking to the future, Jay said his heart would always remain in motorbikes and he would like to be able to continue to work in the field, albeit in a different capacity.

"I'm looking at a few other business opportunities in the motorcycling world," he added, "so hopefully I can still be involved in motorbikes and maybe even in racing."

Looking back, he said he had no regrets from a varied career that had taken in stints in both British Superbikes and 250cc and 500cc grands prix on the international stage.

"I will miss the actual racing most," he admitted. "It's what I've always loved, but I've come out of it in one piece and have had 18 years of professional racing which has taken me all over the world.

"I've seen so many places, had so much fun and raced with a lot of top Moto GP riders too. It's been the best time of my life but you can't do it forever."

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