In perfect racing conditions on Saturday, Randalstown man Gerard Kinghan took a win in the opening race for Superbikes. He was pressed hard by Jamie Patterson and Brian McCormack, but the Tramore man was forced out at the halfway point in the race by a holed radiator.
It left Patterson with little bother and he finished 9.2 seconds behind the race winner. Mark O’Byrne took a distant third. The first race on Sunday brought McCormack to the top step of the podium. He led Jamie Patterson off the line, with Gerard Kinghan third. Kinghan moved to second but before he could make any kind of a move on BMac, the local man retired, promoting Patterson to second. That was the result, 15.1 seconds between the top two, while Mark O’Byrne took third place. Jamie Patterson could have been forgiven for thinking he had done enough to lift the final race win, but with a couple of laps to go, Gerard Kinghan slipped by, holding on to win by .3 of a second. Brian McCormack was never really on terms with the leaders, finishing third, 3.7 seconds adrift.
Saturday’s Supersport 600 race was all we have come to expect from the class.
It was won by Robert English, the Bangor rider beating Dundrod’s Robert Kennedy into second place by 1.5 seconds. Luke Johnston from Ahoghill was a distant third place. Robert English led Sunday’s opening race for the first few laps, but Robert Kennedy stuck with the Bangor man. At about half distance Kennedy went ahead, but couldn’t put much of a gap into Triumph mounted English.
The top two finished just .9 apart, with Jason Lynn almost 12 seconds back. Robert Kennedy was the early leader in the last race. He was chased by Jason Lynn and Robert English. English passed Lynn and then took the lead from Kennedy towards the finish of the race, hanging on to win by 1.8 seconds.
Saturday’s Supertwin race went to Dave Butler.
He had a hard time with Aaron Clifford, but dropping 200cc was just too much for the Duleek youngster and he was forced to give best to Butler. On a damp track after a shower of rain, Brendan Glover came from behind to register a win.
The Dublin man blitzed Dave Butler from about the third lap, moving away to win by almost 10 seconds. Aaron Clifford, on a little 450 Aprilia, was well back in third place. After the first attempt at running was red flagged when Nicole Lynch slipped off, the record books will show that Butler won the final race, but what won’t be so clear is just how hard young Clifford had to work to almost grab a win.
He was only .09 behind the winner at the line, with Jason Cash coming through the field to take third on the final lap. Bangor man Stevie Titterington had no equals in the Pre Injection races.
On Saturday he cleared off to register the first win of the weekend, beating Mervyn Griffin by 16.2 seconds, while Lee Bradshaw finished third. First race on Sunday was also red flagged when Lee Bradshaw slid off at the hairpin. He was unhurt. On the restart, again Stevie Titt simply dissappeared.
He took the win by 7.8 seconds, with Dublin’s Stephen Doyle getting the better of James McKenna for second. Titterington performed the same demolition job in the last race of the day.
After a couple of laps the main focus of attention was on the dice for the two other podium places.
Mervyn Griffin pipped Stephen Doyle on the last lap, to go second.
There was a good field of Classic Superbikes.
It was good to see Hilton Hincks back out and winning races again. He won Saturday’s race by 6.4 seconds. Recently returned to racing, Cormac Conroy took runner up, while Mike Meskell, one of the leading men who helped get the series under way, finished in third position. Derek Wilson was the early in the opening race on Sunday. Again Hincks moved to the lead, chased by Barry Gill. Riding his RC30 the way it was meant to be ridden, Gill just couldn’t get on terms with Hincks, and had to settle for second. Again, Meskell was a distant third. Hincks was the start finish winner in the last race. He moved away from everybody else and was never seriously challenged.
Barry Gill was running in second place for a while, but then Cormac Conroy forced his way by into second. That was the way they finished, Hincks winning by .8 of a second. In the SBK and 600 Cup races all three went to Ballycastle man Charles Stuart.
On Saturday Stuart won by 12.1 seconds, with Kail Doherty in third, right on Brouders rear wheel. Stuart also took a comfortable win on Sunday. Riding his new Honda,
Wayne Sheehan inherited second place when David Halligan slipped off. Kail O’Doherty was well in touch with Sheehan, but just couldn’t manage to get his nose ahead.
The SS400/GP 125 races gave us some great entertainment. In truth there was no one in the same class as Gorey lad Graham Whitmore. He took his first ever race win on Saturday. Peter Fletcher from Parkgate near Antrim was second, well ahead of Eoin Collins. Collins inherited third after Antrim’s Lee Ospreys Kawasaki developed a misfire, later traced to a faulty battery.
Lee had been lapping a full second faster than the Lisdoonvarna lad and was gutted to have taken fourth. Whitmore cleared off in the re run of race two as well.
There was a great dice for the lower places. Lee Osprey, Shane Sweeney and David Ging were passing and repassing at almost every bend.
With just about everybody starting on wets and on a drying track, Osprey lost the front wheel and although he stayed on, he dropped behind Ging, who finished as runner up. It gave Lee his first ever podium.
The first attempt at running this one was red flagged after a shower of rain saw a few riders slide off, including Eugene McManus and Peter Fletcher, who now faces an uphill battle to have his bike ready for the Ulster Grand Prix this week.
The result was the same in the final race as well. Wexford lad Whitmore, younger brother of Thomas, decimated the opposition right from the start. David Ging was in touch, but just not close enough, while Lee Osprey had a safe third place. Whitmore’s first race win, his first double and Lee Ospreys first podiums.
Randalstown’s Eugene McManus won the GP class, from Toome lad Cahal Graham and Doaghs Paul Atkinson, on William Dunlops little Honda. Atkinson improved to second behind McManus in race two, with Graham dropping out, while the Toome rider won the final outing. Eugene McManus was second and Paul Atkinson third. Luke O’Higgins from Clontarf was in a class of his own in the Newcomers races.
He cleared off in the first one, winning from Connall Courtney and Shane Sweeney. An enjoyable weekend’s racing, and well run.
Even though we had a few delays due to rain and red flags, the racing was still finished before 5pm. Well done to all concerned.