Thirteen is sometimes considered an unlucky number, but the opposite is true as Yorkshire's James Cowton becomes the 13th winner of the Duke Road Race Rankings series in 2014.
Twenty-three year old James has had a stellar season on the roads, his third year racing 'between the hedges' amassing six race victories during the year, at Oliver's Mount, Billown and Dundrod, where he took his first international race win at the Ulster Grand Prix.
James' first victory of the year was at the Blackford's Pre-TT Classic races in the Post Classic race where he also set a new lap record, following that with a double at the Barry Sheene Race Festival at his home circuit, Oliver's Mount before taking another double win at the Dundrod 150 Road Races.
Add in a further nine second and 13 third places out of the 45 races he finished, only three were out of the top six whilst setting seven fastest laps.
James Cowton said on hearing the news of his title win: 'I can't believe it really, we have had a mega year - every meeting but one we have been on the podium. I can't ask for more and everywhere we go we are moving forward but I could not do it without my top class team behind me. Thank you. Looking forward to 2015 and hope to have another successful season.'
The 2014 Duke Road Race Rankings held over 25 rounds commencing at the Spring National Road Races at the North Yorkshire venue of Oliver's Mount in mid-April and concluded mid-November at the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, James was third in the table after the opening round and throughout the season maintained a position in the top six, slotting into second after the Ulster Grand Prix climbing on to the top rung after the Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup Road Races, the penultimate round, the final round at Macau un-affecting the top three positions.
Second in the Duke Rankings, Lincolnshire's Ivan Lintin also had his best season to date, leading the table after the opening round, he too ended his year with an incredible six race victories, including the prestigious Gold Cup at Oliver's Mount in September finishing a mere 41 points adrift of James.
Third place Dean Harrison also enjoyed a successful season leading the rankings from round 12, the Southern 100 International Road Races and held his advantage until the penultimate round, despite being involved in a racing incident at the Ulster Grand Prix which put him out for the remainder of the season.
The top six were completed by Michael Dunlop, the 2013 winner, Dan Kneen and Guy Martin.
Peter Duke commented: 'Another thrilling season with 479 point-scoring riders underlines the increasing popularity of real roads racing and I am extremely proud that the Duke Series plays its part in the sport.
'It's often thought Irish riders dominate road racing, but this year’s results showcase the talent and enthusiasm for 'closed roads' in the rest of the British Isles. Long may it continue!'