For once the weather at Mondello Park was kind for last weekend’s racing, with bright sunshine and warm temperatures all weekend.
With the hot weather came hot racing with some great battles in all the classes.
Lisburn man Declan Hoey was in great form, taking three wins over the weekend in the Superbike class. He beat Alan Kenny by .1 of a second in Saturdays opening race of the weekend. Philip McNally finished in a distant third position.
Alan Kenny led Sunday’s opening race from the start before Karl McGahon went ahead. Recovering from a slow start, Hoey waited until the closing stages of the race before going ahead, chased hard by Alan Kenny after McGahon dropped back. That was the result, with just on 2 seconds separating the top three riders.
Alan Kenny led the final race from the start, but Hoey went ahead of the fourth lap. By then it was pretty much game over, although Kenny hung on gamely to finish right on Hoeys rear wheel. The top two had pulled well away from McGahon.
As usual, the Supersport races provided some of the best entertainment of the meeting. Dundrod rider Robert Kennedy took first blood of the weekend, winning Saturdays race by a massive margin of 5.7 seconds. Jason Lynn took second place.
Luke Johnston from Ahoghill looked to have Sundays opening race in the bag, but the Ahoghill lad caught neutral braking down for the hairpin. Running wide into the gravel trap, Luke was able to paddle his way back on track, but the Mondello gravel beat him. The front end of his R6 bogged down and Luke toppled off. That handed the lead to Robert English, who made no mistake, winning by .6 over Jason Lynn, while Robert Kennedy was third.
Kennedy led the last race from the start, chased by Luke Johnston and Jason Lynn. Another slip off, this time a bit more damaging, left Johnston in the gravel and moved Lynn to second. Randalstown man Christian Elkin took third.
Dave Butler and Aaron Clifford were the main men in the Supertwins class over the course of the weekend. Butler took Saturdays race, with Clifford .2 behind at the end. Christian Elkin hung gamely on, but was unable to match the leaders speed. From then on it was Aaron Cliffords weekend. He took Sundays first outing, leading right from the lights. Elkin was second, with Dave Butler third. Christian Elkin was a bit closer to Meath lad Clifford in the last race, the local man under a second behind at the flag. Ross Patterson from Antrim finished in third place.
Steven Titterington was unbeaten in the Pre Injection races. Saturday gave him his first win, well ahead of Paul McCrea and Chris O’Mahoney. McCrea hounded Stevie Titt all the way on Sunday, but was still just .2 back at the finish. Willie Moore from Dublin was a distant third place. Right from the lights in the final race Titterington was away. He was never seriously challenged, and even slowed at one point to allow the rest of the field to catch up. Again, McCrea was runner up with Moore third.
Alvin Griffin was the man on form in the SS400/125GP races. David Ging was his main opposition all weekend. On Saturday Griffin was only just able to hold Ging off, while Noah Holmes rode his dad Joes little RS250 Aprilia to third. Ging was a bit closer in the second race, just 1.5 seconds separating the top two, while again Holmes took third. The top two were the same in the last race, with Graham Whitmore well back in third.
Just to show that sportsmanship is still alive, Antrim rider Lee Osprey had a head gasket go in his ZRX400 on Saturday. Another SS400 rider, James Ging, with Chris Campbell dropped the engine out of Lee’s bike and stripped and rebuilt it for him. The local lad was up to 5th place in Sunday’s last race, but slipped off uninjured. And they say sportsmanship is dead.
Run with the SS400’s the GP125 races were dominated by Toomebridge riders. Eugene McManus won Saturdays race, with Cahal Graham second. McManus, on Roy Hannas Honda, was leading Sundays first outing, but looked to have run out of fuel with a couple of corners to go. It gifted the win to Graham, who was chasing hard for most of the race. Cahal Graham won the last race as well.
The Superbike and Supersport 600 Cup races were also very hotly contested. Alvin Griffin took first blood over the weekend, with Ballycastle man Charles Stuart finishing as runner up. Chris Campbell was a distant third. Things were slightly closer in the second race. While Stuart took the win, Griffin was .01 behind. Chris Campbell had been close behind, but a near highside saw the Belfast man back off to take a safe third. Stuart led the last race for the first few laps, but Griffin dived up the inside under brakes at the hairpin. Stuart never allowed the Wicklow man any respite, however, chasing him right to the flag. Again, Chris Campbell was third.
Cormac Conroy was in great form in the Classic Superbike class. He took Saturdays race by 7.6 seconds, while Mick McAvoy had his work cut out to fend off a challenge from Des Butler. Barry Gill, on an RC30, rode the bike the way they should be ridden, to claim a win in the first race on Sunday. Gill, who raced the same bike years ago before retiring, had Mike Meskell and Cormac Conroy for close company. Conroy led from start to finish in the last race. Barry Gill recovered from a slow start to go by Mike Meskell towards the finish, but by then could do nothing about the lead that Conroy had opened up.
The smallest class, the 125/300 Production, gave us some great races as well. Connall Courtney from Warrenpoint took the honours in Saturdays outing, from Lurgan lad Jack Waring. Courtney had a fairly comfortable win, 7.1 seconds, from Waring, with Jordan Burrows just holding off Scott Swann for third. There was just .027 between them at the line. In the first race on Sunday, Waring at Courtney were swapping places at almost every corner. On the third lap, Waring highsided and Courtney also fell. Neither was hurt, but it handed a win to Scott Swann. Jordan Burrows was catching Swann at every corner, but was .1 off the win at the end. Shane Sweeney finished a distant third. Young Swann, still on a high, was pushing Waring in the last race, but the tiny Magheramorne lad slipped off his Aprilia, uninjured but upset. That left the Lurgan rider well out on his own, while second placed Burrows was less than half a second ahead of Sweeney at the finish.
KELLS THIS WEEKEND
After a couple of years in the wilderness, the Kells road race is well and truly back on track. Practice will be this Saturday and racing on Sunday. As usual, I’ll have a full round up in next weeks Times. Also next week, I will have some information about the Armoy meeting, which is coming up in a few weeks.