After the near Arctic condition at Mondello a couple of weeks previous, Saturday’s racing was held in almost perfect conditions, while although still dry, Sunday was noticeably colder.
Shiels, riding for Randalstown based CD Racing, had three emphatic wins at Mondello over the weekend.
On Saturday he was being chased by Marshal Neill, riding a Wilson Craig Honda, but Neill survived a heart stopper when he was flung from the seat of the bike exiting the hairpin. He clung onto the side of the machine, wrestling it to a stop on the grass after being narrowly avoided by local man Mark Glasgow. Although he didn’t fall, Neill pulled into the pits after that.
It left Shiels well out on his own, with Glasgow finishing 18.5 seconds back, but still comfortably ahead of Peter Moloney. Derek Shiels kept his nerve on Sunday as well, winning the first race from Marshal Neill and Damien Byrne.
In the final race of the weekend for the big bikes it was again Glasgow who took the runner up slot, finishing nearly 4 seconds ahead of Neill. By my very unofficial reckoning Shiels now tops the table from Mark Glasgow and Marshal Neill.
Marshal Neill was also in good form in the Supersport class as well. On Saturday he took a race win, relegating Richie Ryan to second.
Despite a very heavy fall at Bishopscourt on Easter Saturday, Lisburn’s Carl Phillips managed to hold off a determined last lap challenge from Cullybackey lad Dean McMaster, who set the fastest lap of the race. Apparently Phillips misread his pitboard, slowing off a lap early and letting Ryan through to second place. McMaster was only .1 adrift at the finish.
There were no mistakes from Richie Ryan on Sunday. He won the first race, with Marshal Neill grabbing second place, comfortably ahead of Derek Shiels. Ryan also took the final race of the weekend for the Supersport lads. It had to be re started after Gilford’s Jonny Harvey had a heavy fall from his R6. Early reports are that he has a broken arm.
On the restart there were no mistakes from Ryan, although he was hard pressed by Neill, in what was one of the closest finishes of the weekend. The Portadown rider was .033 behind at the finish, while Antrims Jamie Patterson was only inches ahead of Carl Phillips at the line to take 3rd place. My reckoning, again, gives the lead of the overall championship to Richie Ryan with Neill second ahead of Carl Phillips.
Jamie Masterson tops the Superbike and Supersport Cup table at the end of the weekend’s sport. The Castleknock man had to give best to Des Mackessy in the Saturday race, when the Dublin man finished 2.6 seconds to the better with Dean Fishbourne third. Sunday gave Masterson a double, coming from behind in both races to take hard earned wins. Mackessy was a little over a second ahead of Lusk rider Thomas O’Grady, who was riding Phil McGraths R1, in the first race of the day. O’Grady had things better set up in the final race, where he was 2.1 seconds behind Masterson, with Mackessy third.
Unusually, Dave Butler didn’t get things all his own way in the Supertwins races. Clonsilla man Brendan Glover was right in the Dundrum mans slipstream at the finish of the first race of the weekend, where only .3 of a second separated them. Even closer, .1 of a second back was Paul Tobin.
As if one defeat wasn’t rare enough, Butler was beaten twice on Sunday. Glover came from behind to grab victory by .3 of a second with Paul Tobin third. The same three filled the podium in the last race of the day, this time 3 seconds was the winning advantage, while Tobin was third, less than 2 seconds back.
Rathnew rider Colm Kearney had a useful win in the first Pre Injection/250GP race. He was pressed hard by Ronan Shanaghan, but the Celbridge man couldn’t get his GP bike on terms with the CBR Honda of Kearney. Daniel O’Connell, on the Honda that used to be raced by his late brother Peter, finished in third place. On Sunday it was the Paraic Dooley show. He recovered from a slow start, to take the race win from O’Connell, who had close company from Shanaghan. The last race went to Dooley with Ronan Shanaghan second and Colm Kearney taking third, about 3 seconds back.
Andrew Whearty won the Lightweight Supersport/125GP race on Saturday afternoon. Pressed hard for the first few laps by PJ Quinn, Whearty eventually took the race win by 1.3 seconds, with James Ging third. Tom Gregory took the race win in both Sundays races.
In both, Enfield man Quinn, who was suffering from ‘proper flu, not man flu’ and spent the weekend dosing himself with Lemsip, finished in second place ahead of Whearty.
Comber’s James Conroy totally demolished the opposition in Saturday’s Classic race, where he stormed to a 16.8 second win over Sandymount man Dave Hickey. Some 3.5 seconds back was Eanie Horan, on his beautiful sounding big Triumph triple.
Horan won Sunday’s opening race, finishing well ahead of Dave Hickey, with Herbie Ronan a distant third. Horan led off the line in the last race of the weekend. He seemed to have the drive out of the tight corners, but determined riding and awesome braking gave the win to 350 Honda mounted Conroy. Eanie was well ahead of Dave Hickey at the drop of the flag.
Rathmoylan man Terry O’Reilly, passengered by Clive Russell, won not only his first race, but also took wins in all three races of the weekend. On Saturday he finished nearly 9 seconds ahead of Stoneyford man Scobby Killough with Brian Butler in the chair, while Peter O’Neill /Jack Galligan were third. Patrick Giltenane/Alex Brown finished second, 4.7 seconds off O’Reilly’s pace in Sundays first chair race. Kyle Young and Stephen Smyth were third.
Peter O’Neill, who had to dig himself out of his house at Dundrod during the week, was second in the last race of the weekend for the chairs. With the latest member of the Galligan dynasty, Jack, in the chair, O’Neill was 2.9 adrift, while Scobby Killough/Brian Butler were third.
HANNA TOPS THE TABLE
Antrim’s Mark Hanna, a former 250GP Irish title holder, tops the D&GW championship after the Easter weekend’s meetings.
The local man sits on 90 points, 9 ahead of current champion Thomas Lawlor. Lawlor, was taken off at Bishopscourt when a Pre Injection rider moved across his front wheel, is some 20 points ahead of 250 rookie Adam McLean, who rides Bob Pattersons bike. Armoys Tommy Henry, who normally only competes in the Easter race meetings to sort his bike out for the road races, is fourth on 47. Nigel Percy completes the top six on 33 points, 6 ahead of Toomebridge’s Padraig Graham.
The next round of the series will be at Mondello Park on the 25/26th May.
MISS MID ANTRIM
Preparations are well ongoing for this years Mid Antrim 150.
We have already lost 2 road races this year, and if some people are to be believed, there’s another one might follow them.
The local club are working hard to ensure their meeting goes ahead.
With that in mind, this Saturday night the 2014 Miss Mid Antrim 150 will be chosen in Ballymena Rugby Club. Admission is £5 and doors open at 8pm.
The new Miss Mid Antrim will take over from Carleen McCord during the evening. Talking to Carleen recently, she told me she had a brilliant time as Miss Mid Antrim and enjoyed herself every time she went out to a bike meeting. Truth is, she’s now hooked on the sport. So girls, if you fancy a try at the competition head to the Ballymena Rugby Club this Saturday night. You might be lucky and end up with me taking your picture.
Speaking of the Mid Antrim club, they are organising the next short circuit meeting, at Nutts Corner on the 20th April. Talking to race secretary Davy McCartney, he is will be taking entries up until this weekend.
Ring him ASAP on 07740 586135. I’ll have a look ahead to the meeting in next week’s Times.
‘HEDGES’ CHARITY MOTORBIKE RUN
The ‘Hedges’ charity motorbike run will take place on Sunday, April 28, leaving from and returning to the Michelin Club, Broughshane.
Look out for further details on this charity event in next week’s paper.