In a meeting that was planned to pay tribute to the late, great David Wood, fittingly it was the Supersport 600 races gave us some of the best entertainment of the day.
Fittingly, because it was David who was instrumental in having the 600 class on the race programme at all. He convinced everyone that it would provide good racing. How right he was.
The opening Supersport 600 race gave us yet another classic. Robert Kennedy, normally a fast starter, was the first to show, but could do nothing to shake off the pursuing pack. Nikki Coates managed to force his way into the lead, hanging on till the flag. At the line Kennedy was .1 adrift of the Ballyclare rider. Jamie Patterson, another man known for his fast starts, was right on Kennedy’s rear wheel, having managed to make a couple of bike lengths on Jason Lynn.
In the second race, Robert Kennedy again got off the line well. He led a train of other riders, Nikki Coates, Jamie Patterson and Jason Lynn at the end of the first lap. Things went on pretty much the rest of the race with these riders changing places at almost every corner. Sadly, at Ringawaddy on the seventh lap Lynn slid off his Suzuki, unhurt. That had the effect of opening a gap over the rest of the field, with fourth placed Carl Phillips a few seconds off the pace. Coates again took the win, finishing .3 ahead of Jamie Patterson, while Robert Kennedy was only .04 behind that.
In the first Superbike race, Marshal Neill led the charge from the start. He pulled steadily away, eventually winning by 5.7 seconds. Nikki Coates had held second for a few laps till Crumlins Stephen Thompson fired his BMW ahead. He set off after Neill, but by then the result was never in doubt. Jamie Hamilton, after not having the best of starts, recovered to be right on Thompsons back wheel at the line. The official results gave the difference as .08 of a second.
Jamie Hamilton led the next Superbike encounter at the end of the opening lap. Less than half a second separated him, Marshal Neill, Stephen Thompson and Alistair Kirk. Neill soon hit the front, dropping Jamie Hamilton, who was wearing Michael Sweeneys helmet, to second. Building on his lead, Neill won from Hamilton, while Kirk relegated Thompson in the closing stages of the race.
David Holland took both Superbike Cup races. He was slow off the line in the first, but soon caught and passed Daryl Heverin. Towards the end Paul Demaine also slipped ahead of Heverin, leaving the Co. Kildare man to finish in third position.
It was the same top two in the second race as well. Holland took the win from Demaine, this time by 7.3 seconds. Cathal Berrill finished in third place, just .1 back of Demaine. Run concurrently with the SBK Cup, the Supersport Cup opening race was won by Des Makessy. The Dublin rider was just ahead of Tom Nicholl, who had managed to put a second and a half into William Saunderson. Tom Nicholl took the next race, relegating Makessy to second place. He just managed to stay ahead of Dean Fishbourne, who was making great inroads in the final couple of laps.
Son of former Manx Grand Prix winner Stanley Rea, Michael is fast carving his own niche in the racing world. On Saturday he took a hard fought double in the Production twins races. The first race saw the Daniel Annett right in Reas wheeltracks for most of the race. The Bangor man was just .1 back at the end, while James Chawke finished in third place.
It was again Rea who took the win in next outing, but this time he had a 7.6 second cushion over Annett. Chris Hillis finished in third place, well back. Korie McGreevy won the opening Supertwins race. He was well ahead of Philip McNally, who was obviously thinking of the bigger picture, the Irish title. Strangely, for this class, the race began to get strung out after a few laps. McGreevy won, by 13.3 seconds over McNally. He was over 8 seconds ahead of Castleblaney man Daryl Duffy.
The championship was decided in a split second on the opening lap of the second race. Rounding Ringawaddy, McGreevy slid off his Cagiva, handing the title to McNally. The Meath man had a runaway win, crossing the line over 14 seconds ahead of Aaron Clifford. Clifford, on an absolutely beautiful little 450 RRV Aprilia, managed to hold off Stephen McKnight, a man better known for his road racing.
Jonny Aiken led the first Pre Injection race at the end of the opening lap. He was hounded by Mervyn Griffin and Stevie Titterington. Before long Griffin went ahead, opening up a lead. Thats the way it stayed until the end, the Wicklow man winning by a second, while Jonathan Ralph passed Stevie Titt for second.
It was again Griffin from Ralph in the second race, this time the margin of victory just .2 of a second. Jonny Aiken took third, with his front wheel about level with Ralphs back one. There were only 3 GP250s. Both races went to Thomas Lawlor from Ronan Shanahan and John McAllister.
The Moto3/GP125 and SS400 races all ran together. As has been the case for most of the year, there was nobody in the same league as Randalstown man Christian Elkin. On Bob Wylies Moto3 Honda Elki shot off the line and won at his own pace. The first race was by over 5 seconds. Toomebridge rider Padraig Graham had to work hard to hold off a determined Kyle Cross, but the Lisburn lad was nearly 4 seconds behind at the finish. The result was the same in the second race as well, with Elkin winning by 7.6 seconds. Graham took runner up, over 2 seconds ahead of young Cross.
Oddly, the two SS400 races produced the same results both times. Stephen Shortt was the early leader in the first, but was soon caught and passed by Alvin Griffin. The top two pulled away from third man Andy McAllister. Exactly the same scenario in race two, with Griffin having to come from behind Shortt to take the race win. Again McAllister was well back in third.
Aaron Wright was the comfortable winner in the first 125 Production and GP125 Newcomers race. He used the low down power of his 4 stroke to blast away from everybody else, holding off Noah Holmes, his only real opposition. At the line Holmes failed to match Wright by over 2 seconds, while Lee Bradshaw was third, well back.
Holmes took the race win in the second leg, while it was a mention on the retirement list for Aaron Wright. Lee Bradshaw was almost 7 seconds back in second and Jordan Burrows, the first lap leader, slipping back to a distant third. There were only 2 GP125 Newcomers. Richard Kerr took the win in both races, from Caolin Irwin.
The first sidecar race was, to put it mildly, boring. Dylan Lynch and Stephen Mullan cleared off to win by 9.5 seconds. Terry O’Reilly and Clive Russell were second, over 28 seconds in front of Pat Gaffney with his brother Paul in the chair, a distant third. The Lynch/Mullan duo won the second race as well. Mick Donovan with solo racer Dave Butler in the chair, were second, just .3 ahead of Terry O’Reilly and Clive Russell.
It was good to see a properly run and organised race meeting. David Wood was a master of PR and I’m quite sure would have been very pleased to see the way the day’s proceedings went. Well done to Clerk of the Course Mark Sanlon.
This weekend we have a free Saturday, as riders prepare for the final of the Mondello Masters the following weekend. Hopefully I will have information in plenty of time for next week’s Times, as I head to Mondello for the final time this year.
I had an email during the week from Adelaide Insurance Services, the sponsors of the Masters series, who are to change their name. They are to be known as Cornmarket Insurance Services. Hopefully we will be watching the Cornmarket Masters from next year.
The whole concept is just too good to let drop, and I know that the Mondello team work hard to promote their championship, which has become the one the riders want to win.