With typical autumn conditions greeting the riders throughout the weekend, the opening qualifying session on Friday came to a premature end when rain began to fall half way through the session and no-one was able to go quicker than what they had done in the opening handful of laps. That left Conor in 15th place going into Saturday's final qualifying session where he promptly took over a second off his lap time in the dry conditions. However, he was bumped back a place to 16th overall and so the Manxman lined up on the fourth row of the grid.
The weather was at its kindest when Sunday's 14-lap race got underway and Conor maintained his starting position on the opening lap before being relegated to 17th a lap later. However, lapping half a second quicker than what he'd done in practice, by half race distance he'd moved up to 13th, again embroiled in a big fight for the final top ten positions, no less than 9 riders battling it out for 8th place. Briefly up to 12th place, fellow road racer Gary Johnson edged him back to 13th on the ninth lap and Conor took the chequered flag in that position for three more hard earned points. The result moved him on to a total of 68 points for the season, which meant he finished 10th overall in one of the most fiercely fought Championships and it also meant he was the second highest placed Yamaha rider.
Speaking later, the 23-year old Manxman said; "Once again, I pushed as hard as I could and did the best I could so it was good to finish in the points once more and finish inside the top ten of the Championship. It's been a hard season but I've loved every minute of it and working with Ian and the entire Team Blackhorse Yamaha squad has been truly fantastic. We've had a solid, consistent year and I'm happy enough with the results and to finish as the second highest Yamaha rider shows what a good job we've all done. I've got two more meetings, in Australia and Macau, to look forward to now and I'll be aiming to finish the season on a high note there."
Conor now has a two week break before heading to Australia for the 'Kings of Wanneroo' meeting, which, in turn, is followed by the Macau Grand Prix where he'll be riding for the Paul Bird Kawasaki World Superbike team.
Team Blackhorse Yamaha boss Ian Lougher will also be in action at the Wanneroo event but won't be racing at Macau.
Picture by Glynne Lewis