Busy weekend of race action at Kirkistown and Killalane

Ballymena man Neil Kernohan rides round the outside of Warren Reeve at School House Corner. Picture: Roy Adams.
Ballymena man Neil Kernohan rides round the outside of Warren Reeve at School House Corner. Picture: Roy Adams.

At the start of a busy weekend, and in perfect racing conditions, a number of lap records were broken at Kirkistown last Saturday.

A number of top riders opted to stay away from the meeting, due possibly to the fact that the final round of the Adelaide Masters is coming up soon. I do know that Cody Nally was absent due to a family death. Having said that, it brought a few riders to the fore, and that can only do the sport good.

Kells rider Dennis Booth coming into St. Movee. Picture: Roy Adams.

Kells rider Dennis Booth coming into St. Movee. Picture: Roy Adams.

Philip McNally led the first Superbike race of the day, but after a couple of laps was passed by Karl McGahon. McGahon had to work hard, and McNally never stopped chasing, but the Trim rider missed out, by .002 of a second, giving McGahon what I believe to be his first ever race win. Aaron Ebbitt finished in third place, still well in touch with the leaders. Ebbitt took his first ever race win in the second Superbike race. The former quad and solo Supermoto champion had to come from behind, passing early leader Mark Murphy. Ebbitt won from Karl McGahon by .1 of a second, while Philip McNally was just over 5 seconds back in third place.

In recent meetings the Supersport 600 class has given us some of the best races of the day. Last weekend was no different. In the first race, Dundrod man Robert Kennedy grabbed a win, just holding off Jason Lynn by .1 of a second. Carl Phillips was right on Lynns back wheel, finishing only .3 back. Lynn took a second race win, just 1.3 seconds in front of Kennedy. Mark Conlin finished in third position, well in touch with the leaders. Kevin Keyes clipped .2 of a second off Glenn Irwins 2009 Supersport Cup lap record in this race.

The Supersport and Superbike Cup races were run along with the F1 Forgotten Era. The poorly supported F1 races both went to Chris Campbell. He beat B&D club member Andy McAllister and David O’Connell in the two outings. Jason Shaw and Chris Dundee shared the honours in the Superbike and Supersport Cup events. Dundee had a comfortable win from Shaw in the first one, while Brian Leddin was third. Shaw took race two, with Cahal Graham, in his first ever ride on a Supersport 600 bike, taking a fighting second place. Cahal’s career until now was centred in 125GP bikes. The Toomebridge rider was only .1 ahead of Dundee at the finish.

There were doubles for both Michael Rea and Korie McGreevy in the Supertwins and Production Twins races. McGreevy won the two Supertwins races, both times from Philip McNally. It must be soul destroying for McNally to see McGreevy disappearing into the distance. The Ballynahinch lad broke the lap record and won the opening race by over 15 seconds, while Gary Keep was third. McNally had it back to an 11 second deficit in the next race, while Darryl Duffy finished third.

Michael Rea ran out as the easy winner of the first Production Twins race. He was over 10 seconds ahead of Chris Hillis while Antrim man Luke Hazlett was third. James Chawke held off a determined challenge for second place in the last race. He was hounded over the line by Chris Hillis, who was .3 back.

Andrew Brady had a record breaking double in the Pre Injection races. He won the first race from Mervyn Griffin and Stevie Titterington, while breaking the lap record in the second race, he was over 3 seconds ahead of Griffin and Johnny Aiken. Ronan Shanahan and Thomas Lawlor was a win and a second place apiece in the 250GP class. Michael McKerr was well back in third place in the first race and didn’t finish the second.

On Bob Wylie’s Moto3 bike, Randalstown’s Christian Elkin won both the 125/Moto3 races. In the first he was given a hard time by Kyle Cross. At one stage it looked to me like Cross was going to be able to pass Elki, due to his being badly baulked by slower SS400 bikes. The experience of the former NW winner told, however, with the local man winning by 1.8 seconds. Richard Kerr, on the other Wylie Honda, finished in third place.

It was again Elkin and Cross in the second race, this time by an increased margin. Caolin Irwin finished in third place, still in touch with the leaders. Run concurrently, the SS400 races both gave wins to Alvin Griffin. Stephen Shortt finished second in both and Parkgate man Peter Fletcher third.

The Production 125 and GP125 Newcomers were also held. Both of the Production races went to Aaron Wright. In the first he broke his own lap record, finishing 8.7 seconds in front of young Sam Lyons, while Lee Harnett was third. Following Wright across the line in the second race, Connall Courtney picked up his first ever trophy. Again, Lee Harnett finished in third place.

On another note, I would like to thank the Belfast and District club for their permission to walk a lap of the track during the lunch break, to raise money for the Medical Team and Injured Riders. I was slightly disappointed by the number who turned out, but I know that the Killalane practice will have taken quite a few away. I’m not too sure as yet how much we have raised, so anybody with forms and money collected give me a shout as soon as possible.

KILLALANE

Sunday’s Country Crest sponsored Killalane road meeting was the final road race of the 2014 season.

Sadly the meeting was blighted by one red flag incident after another. I think there were 7 race stoppages. The information I have at the minute is that only one of the riders is quite badly beaten up and that all the others are fine.

The opening race of the meeting was the Junior 250 class. Truthfully, Michael Sweeney was always winning this one. While he led right from the start, Seamus Elliott was always a couple of seconds back, ready to pounce should anything go wrong with Mickos bike. Nothing did, and the Skerries man held on to take the race win by 2.4 seconds. Elliott was second and Paul Robinson a distant third place.

Run concurrently with the GP250’s, the SS400 class went to Ian Morrell, with a lights to flag victory. He was well ahead of Duleek man Mark Shiels, who was pushed hard by Scottish rider Alistair Bayley.

Next up was the Senior Support. Right from the start Neil Lyons took off and was never in any serious danger of being caught. The Dunsaughlin man was in a class of his own, and controlled the race at his own pace. Behind him, however, things were not so cut and dried. Four riders were only seconds apart, dicing for the lower places. Setting the fastest lap of the race, Stephen Proctor finished in second place, just .4 of a second ahead of Kevin Fitzpatrick. This race was red flagged on the final lap when George Scott fell at School House Corner. Thankfully, he was not injured.

Next up was the eagerly anticipated Open race. Red flagged twice, both times within a couple of laps of getting under way, the race organisers finally gave up, deciding to put the Senior Classic onto the grid instead.

I was out in the country for this race, and not able to hear any of the PA system, but I do know that Robert McCrum had a dreadful start, passing me on the first lap just about in the top 10. Setting the quickest lap of the race, Bert pulled through to grab the race win from Richard Ford on the final lap. Ford had a great start, leading comfortably at the end of the opening lap, but McCrum plugged away, lapping on average 4 seconds a lap faster. At the line he won by 6.8 seconds. Ed Manley was a distant third.

Coleraine man William Hara had a start to finish win in the Junior Support class. He made a break right from the start, leaving everyone else to sort out the lower places themselves. Melvin Hollingsworth was running in second place for much of the race, but Sean Connolly moved through to grab runner up a couple of laps from the finish. Hollingsworth finished in third place.

The B race of the Junior Support gave Barry Sheehan his first ever road race win. He led from the start and at one stage had a useful lead built up. Paul O’Rourke was gradually catching Sheehan, but just ran out of laps to complete the job. O’Rourke, from nearby Skerries, missed out by under half a second. Tramore man Martin Currams finished in third place, and seemed to me to be closing on the leaders in the final couple of laps.

The first attempt at running the GP125 race was red flagged after just a single lap. A long delay followed before another try was made to run the race. Again a red flag and another delay. Finally the race, now cut to 3 laps, went to Ballymoney man Paul Robinson. By .6 of a second, that was enough to give him the Irish title, Sam Dunlop finishing in second place. With Nigel Moore right on Dunlops rear wheel at the finish.

A cracking Supertwins race went to Michael Sweeney, by .2 of a second. For the entire 6 laps race distance, both he and Derek McGee were elbow to elbow, with McGee trying a few times to get ahead. It wasn’t to be, and Sweeney, from Skerries, finally took the race win. The top two had quickly pulled away from Jamie Hamilton, with the Ballyclare man seemingly able to do little about the leaders. Hamilton was about 14 seconds off the pace at the end.

Michael Dunlop, having a guest ride on a 350 Classic, had a simple start to finish victory in the Junior Classic race. Glarryford man Barry Davidson, whose wife Clare is expecting the couple’s second child, decided to sit the meeting out. In the end, the margin of victory was 34.5 seconds. That works out that Michael was almost 6 seconds a lap faster that second placed Jonny Doran. Herbie Ronan missed out on second place by a mere .2 of a second. Run with the 350’s, Phil Shaw had a handy start to finish win in the 250 class. He pulled well away from a tight struggle for the other two podium places. Richard Ford and Alan Jackson were in close company for most of the race, with Fordy managing to put a couple of seconds into Jackson on the final lap.

The Grand Final gave Michael Dunlop his second win of the day. The Ballymoney man had to recover from a slow start, passing me on the first lap in about 5th place. Michael picked off the leaders one at a time, going ahead with a couple of laps to go. Early leader Jamie Hamilton finished in second place, while Micko Sweeney was right with Hamilton at the finish.