Riders cope well with worst of conditions at Skerries race meeting

Michael Dunlop scrubs off speed in the rain. Pictures: Roy Adams.

Michael Dunlop scrubs off speed in the rain. Pictures: Roy Adams.

Despite the worst the weather could throw at them, the organisers of the Axa Bikecare Skerries road races gave us a great weekend’s sport.

Fridays practice was badly affected by squally rain showers, but sticking to their guns the club got through with very little disruption.

Barry Davidson on his way to a win in the Junior Classic race.

Barry Davidson on his way to a win in the Junior Classic race.

In the main, Saturdays weather was better, but not by much. Racing was held up due to a spectator having an accident, meaning she had to be removed to hospital. Sadly the rain called a halt to racing prior to the Grand Final, which was to be feature race of the day.

The first race of the day was the Junior Support. Right from the start, Rathkeale rider James Chawke opened a gap. It looked like a done deal until Chawke retired with just over a lap to go. That handed the race win to Jason Cash, who, in fairness, had already moved into second place and was catching Chawke. Philip Crosbie finished in second place, 7.5 seconds adrift of Cash, while, riding for the locally based Rathkenny Track and Enduro team, Czech Republic lady racer Veronika Hankocyova finished in third place.

Derek Sheils grabbed the lead right from the start of the Superbike race. Within a couple of laps he looked to have a race winning gap on William Dunlop and his younger brother Michael. Michael caught William after a slow start, and took a couple of laps to get past him. He then began to close in on the Dublin man. On the last lap Micky D took over, winning by .5 of a second. Sheils filled the runner up slot, with William clearly not happy with the way his bike was performing, finishing third.

The Junior Classic was next. As he did last year, and has quite a few times, Glarryford man Barry Davidson had a start to finish win. He pulled steadily away from second placed Sean Leonard. From Portrane, Leonard was some 14 seconds ahead of Manxman Allan Brew at the line. Luckily for Barry the race finished a lap early as his exhaust broke on the final lap and he nursed his bike home.

Galgorm rider Neil Kernohan skims the safety bales at Skerries.

Galgorm rider Neil Kernohan skims the safety bales at Skerries.

As the Supersport 600 race came to the line rain started to fall steadily and the decision was made to hold their race back until the track dried. When they did get running, on the opening lap William Dunlop held a lead over Derek McGee and Michael Dunlop. Although that was the way it stayed till the finish, the race was still hard fought, with McGee just .3 of a second behind William at the flag. Michael was third, just over a second behind the man dubbed the Mullingar Missile.

The Moto3/GP125 had to red flagged due to race marshals having to call the Garda to arrest some spectators who decided to ruin everybody’s day by starting a fight. With that sorted out, and on a soaking wet track, Derek McGee led a very impressive field until Adam Mclean dived under him at Baldongen with a couple of laps to go. The Tobermore lad, on local man Mark Hannas little Honda, managed to take the race win, holding McGee off by half a second, while Paul Jordan finished in third place.

As it has many times, the Supertwins race provided great entertainment. Right from the start Skerries man Michael Sweeney hit the front, and although he tried hard, he could not quite manage to get the gap opened up that he wanted. Derek Sheils, on John Burrows’ bike had to give best to Micko by half a second, with Paul Jordan was third a couple of seconds off the pace.

In the Junior championship race, Saintfield man Davy Morgan came from behind to take a comfortable race win. He had to pass early leader Seamus Elliott, but once done, Morgan was able to gap everybody else fairly quickly. Michael Dokoupil, on the RT&E Yamaha finished in third place, but was far from off the pace, just over a second behind Elliott.