Peter Hickman prevailed to make it two wins from two starts as he secured his maiden international Supersport victory at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
The English rider had to dig deep on the Trooper Beer Smiths Triumph to hold off a determined charge from Padgetts Honda rider Bruce Anstey on a thrilling final lap.
A frenetic battle saw the top six covered by less than two seconds for much of the race, with Hickman and Anstey swapping places at the front, pursued by Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki), Lee Johnston (Padgetts Honda), William Dunlop (IC Racing Yamaha) and Michael Dunlop on his MD Racing Yamaha.
Flying Kiwi Anstey led the way for the majority of the six-lap showdown at Dundrod but Hickman was always breathing down his neck.
There was nothing in it as Hickman moved to the front at the Deer’s Leap on the penultimate lap, with Johnston mounting a late charge to slot into third.
Anstey attempted to hit back but on a blistering final lap, it was 30-year-old Hickman who managed to fend off the 13-time winner, with Johnston securing an emotional podium on his return from injury after a big crash in practice at the Isle of Man TT.
Anstey set the fastest lap of the race on the last lap at 127.865mph.
Harrison finished a close fourth ahead of William Dunlop, who is nursing a broken left scaphoid. Michael Dunlop completed the top six, with Conor Cummins in seventh on the Padgetts Honda.
Derek McGee, Jamie Coward and Adam McLean were the top ten.