Cody Nally clinched his first Irish championship at St. Angelo near Enniskillen last weekend.
McNally, whose all action style has endeared him to race fans both North and South, promptly dedicated the win to his Grandmother Lizzie who passed away a couple of weeks ago.
In the opening race he was off the line like a missile. Putting over a second a lap into everybody else he had a near unassailable lead built up in a couple of laps of the 1.2 miles track. Jamie Patterson held onto Nally for a couple of laps, but couldn’t match the pace of the ZX10. Dromaras Alistair Kirk managed to break away from the dice for the final step on the podium, leaving Philip McNally and Patterson to fight it out between themselves. The verdict went to McNally, by just .2 of a second.
Nally made a break right from the start in the second race, nipping into the lead at the first chicane. Again Jamie Patterson hung on as well as he could, but still had to settle for second place, 9.6 seconds behind the new Irish Superbike champion. Alistair Kirk, .3 adrift of Patterson was the only man left in contention, the top three having broken away from the rest of the field.
Over the past few weeks, the Supersport 600 class has provided some of the best racing of the season.
In the first race at St Angelo, the action was very little short of awesome. Robert Kennedy was first away, chased hard by Carl Phillips, Christian Elkin, Jamie Patterson and Jason Lynn. Phillips soon hit the front, but couldn’t manage to make any kind of a break. Kennedy tried to outbrake Phillips coming off the back straight, but only succeeded in outbraking himself, coming back well behind the leaders.
By now Christian Elkin had made his move and was shadowing the leader. Elki went ahead and despite the best efforts of Jason Lynn, just .001 of a second separated them at the line. Phillips slipped back to third place, 2.5 adrift. Patterson was just .2 behind Phillips, while Dundrods Robert Kennedy finished in fifth place.
It was more of the same in the second leg, but sadly for Carl Phillips his challenge was short lived. His R6 either stuck in gear or broke a gear linkage at about halfway. The Lisburn rider rode on to finish in 11th place. Five points that might be valuable at the end of the season. Jason Lynn took this one, just .5 ahead of Robert Kennedy, while Randalstown’s Christian Elkin was .2 back.
Gary O’Brien had a double win in the Supersport Cup races. In the first he was given a close fight by Gary Millar, who recovered from a slow start to almost get on terms with the leader. Millar, who normally restricts his racing to roads, had pulled well away from third finisher Daryl Heverin.
It was again O’Brien and Millar in the second race, this time the Co. Limerick rider won by 3.4 seconds. Alan Armstrong was third, the Lisniskea man glad of not having to travel for miles to get to a race track for a change.
The first race of the day was to be the Supertwin and Stock twin event, due to be held before the lunch break. It was red flagged after a couple of laps when Antrim’s Luke Hazlett was taken down by an out of control Daniel Annett. Annett ran across the grass and came back onto the circuit clipping the local rider. The resultant crash left Luke with a broken collarbone. It was decided to have the lunch interval as, with no medical centre at the circuit, the ambulance took him directly to hospital.
The race was re run later. Korie McGreevy was the early leader, chased by Philip McNally and Czech rider Michael Dokoupil. Korie was riding brother Kias bike as his own refused to start after the warm up. McGreevy slowed in the latter stages of the race, letting first McNally and then Dokoupil past.
Better known as Indi, Dokoupil soon took over in the lead, giving him and the locally based RT&E team their first Supertwin win in Ireland. With his own bike sorted, Korie McGreevey was the comfortable winner of race two. He was pressed hard by Indi, but the popular Czech rider could not quite get on terms with the Ballynahinch lad. Aaron Armstrong had what I believe is his first Production Twins race win. He was 1.5 seconds ahead of Michael Rea, while Andrew Brady was almost a second back in third place. Rea improved in the second outing, fighting off a stern challenge from James Chawke to win by under a second. Aaron Armstrong took third, but was just not able to get on terms with the leaders.
Andrew Brady, from nearby Rosslea, had a hard fought double in the Pre Injection races. In the first he had to work hard to get past early leader Mervyn Griffin. In the closing stages of the race, Michael Dokoupil was also moving in on Griffin, but at the line the Rathkenny Track and Enduro rider was .05 back.
Brady also won the second race, again from Mervyn Griffin. This time third place went to Hillsborough man Johnny Aiken, who was over 8 seconds back at the flag. Run concurrently, the GP250 races were badly supported. Michael McKerr won the first one, on a holding off a last lap charge from Keith Millen. John McAllister was third, a lap down on the leaders. Keith Millen won the second race, with Michael McKerr second and John McAllister third.
Riding Bob Wylie’s Moto3 bike, there was nobody who could match Christian Elkin in the 125/Moto3 races. In the first the Randalstown man took off and was never headed. He won, in an eight lap race, by 13.7 seconds. In second place, Caolin Irwin fought off Kyle Cross on the final lap, to get second place by just .2 of a second.
Elkin also took an emphatic win in race two, albeit by a reduced margin. Second across the finish line this time was Richard Kerr, the former schoolboy MX rider a team mate to Elkin in Antrim man Bob Wylie’s stable. Caolin Irwin, another lad who has his roots in schoolboy MX, finished in a fighting third place.
Run along with the 125s, the SS400 races both were won by Alvin Griffin. Griffin led from the start, with Stephen Shortt from Portadown seemingly the only man able to go with him. These two finished in that order, and had opened up a useful lead on eventual third finisher Peter Fletcher. Fletcher, from Parkgate, had a better outing in the second race. He followed Shortt across the line in runner up, while Andy McAllister took third, just ahead of James Ging.
Both Production 125 races were won by Aaron Wright who shot off the line, and pulled away to take the win in the first race by 10.6 seconds. Sam Lyons, son of Classic racer Marty, was a distant second, while Jordan Burrows was a lap down in third. Aaron also took the second race. This time Lyons wasn’t so lucky, sliding off, unhurt. The slip promoted Burrows to second and Shane Sweeney, who is a nephew of road racer Michael Sweeney, to third. Richard Kerr won both GP125 Newcomers races, with Caolin Irwin second.
The Classic bikes and the FE350 riders raced together. The first Classic race was won in convincing style by James Conroy. George Stinson was second, although he was well behind Conroy. Nicky Lamb was also well behind Stinson, in third place. James Conroy was walking away with the second race, when his bike quit.
It handed a comfortable win to George Stinson, with Nicky lamb over 5 seconds back in second. Sandy Brown was promoted to third by Conroys misfortune.
The Classic Senior category was also run. Both races were won by Alex Conroy, James’ dad. In the first he finished a lap ahead of runner up Brian O’Neill, with Pete Simpson third. Simpson improved in the second race, to grab second ahead of O’Neill. Ken Fleming took a race win in the first FE350 class. He was never pressured that hard by runner up Keith Millen, the only other finisher. Fleming retired in the second race, leaving Millen a simple win. Almost a full lap down, Gary Millar was well ahead of Clifford Stewart.
Remembering back to 2005, the last time racing was run at St. Angelo, I wasn’t really looking forward to the meeting.
I have to admit that I was wrong. Spectators can see most of the track and there is a great vantage point along the back straight, where the fields slope up. I really enjoyed myself and the racing was fantastic. Clerk of the Course Francis Everard did a fantastic job pulling back the time he lost due to a late start and a red flag incident.
BISHOPSCOURT THIS WEEKEND
I have gone on record many times as saying that David Wood was a man who did more for the sport of motorcycle racing in this country than anyone else ever did.
Not only did he persuade his bosses at Imperial Tobacco to pump hundreds of thousands of pounds into racing but he also helped many lads into the sport with deals and sponsorship. In his honour, David’s old club, the MCRRCI are running a race meeting at Bishopscourt this Saturday.
Pirelli Tyres will back the Supersport 600 class, where, over recent weeks especially, we have had some racing that has been little short of heart stopping.
Wiz Knee Sliders sponsor the Superbike class where newly crowned ISB champion Cody Nally will face Crumlin man Stephen Thompson, Marshall Neill, Mark Glasgow, Alistair Kirk, Mark Glasgow, Declan Hoey and Mark Murphy.
Emerald Road Racing magazine will back the Superbike and Supersport Cup races, while Nutt Travel will sponsor the Moto3 and GP125 races. Sign Stik are on board to sponsor the Pre Injection class and the Enkalon club the 125 Production and 125 Newcomers classes.
Something that I can’t help feeling David would have enjoyed is that Arai Helmets will give a new Chaser helmet and £300 to the Man of the Meeting. David worked closely with Ferry Brouwer many years ago to promote the helmet brand when Ferry imported them to Europe.
Practice at Bishopscourt will get under way at 9am, with racing due to start at 11am. With £6000 prizemoney up for grabs racing is sure to be close and exciting. I will, as usual, have a full report and photos in next week’s Times.