Riders cope with rapidly-changing weather conditions at Mondello Park

Christian Elkin from Randalstown in action in the Supersport 600 race. Pictures: Roy Adams.

Christian Elkin from Randalstown in action in the Supersport 600 race. Pictures: Roy Adams.

It’s always a good-natured standing joke within local motorcycling circles that Mondello Park has its own individual climate.

Never was that any more evident than last Sunday where we were hit with thunder and lightning, hailstones, heavy rain and within 15 minutes, a dry track.

Ryan Rainey had a good third place in the opening Superbike race.

Ryan Rainey had a good third place in the opening Superbike race.

In the Superbike races, Randalstown man Gerard Kinghan was in a class of his own. He won both events from Lisburn man Declan Hoey. In the first race it was another local man, Ryan Rainey who took third place, just a couple of weeks after a nasty accident at Bishopscourt that left him with two dislocated shoulders. Nikki Coates finished third in the second race, but was far from out of touch with the leaders.

Christian Elkin had a handy win in the first attempt at running the Supersport 600 race. Unfortunately for the Randalstown rider a red flag declared that race null and void, and they had a 4 lap sprint race. That went to Jason Lynn, but only after his pit crew had repaired a fault in the fuel pump in the Suzuki. Nikki Coates was second, with Elkin all over his back wheel at the line. Lynn won the second time out as well. That was a close fought race involving Lynn, Richie Ryan, Nikki Coates and Aaron Clifford. Clifford slipped off with a lap and a half to go, leaving Lynn to edge home ahead of Coates and Ryan.

The Supertwins races were the best of the weekend. Dave Butler fought with Joseph Loughlin right from the change of the lights in both races. In the first he got the better of the Castleblaney rider by just .2 of a second, while Thomas Molloy finished a distant third. Race two was similar, with the top two passing and repassing anything up to 3 or 4 times in each lap. With a lap to go Butler dived under Loughlin, but was immediately repassed. Joe took the race win.6 ahead at the flag. James O’Keefe was third, well adrift of the leaders.

Stephen McKeown won the first Superbike and Supersport Cup event. He fought hard with Chris Campbell for much of the race, but the Belfast man disappeared on the last lap, leaving Liam Chawke to finish in second place. Robert Toner was third, well in touch with Chawkie. Campbell kept going in the second race, to register a win from McKeown. The top two had broken away from Liam Chawke.

Gerard Kinghan had a double in the Superbike class.

Gerard Kinghan had a double in the Superbike class.

Just a couple of days after being discharged from hospital Graham Whitmore took a double in the SS400 races. Enda Trearty took a handy runner up place, edging away from David Ging. Whitmore, now on the road to recovery after his fall at Tandragee, shot away from the start in the second race. He was never headed, winning by 1.5 seconds. Eoin Collins, on his nicely prepared ZXR400, was second, well ahead of Mark Camblin.

James McKenna grabbed a double in the Pre Injection class. He was pressed hard by Daniel O’Connell, but the Dublin man just couldn’t put any kind of pass on McKenna, who won by 1.3 seconds. The leaders had moved well away from third man James Cottrell. As the second race came to the line the rain had started to fall. A delay was announced to allow riders to change tyres. On a soaking wet track, McKenna shot into a lead that he never lost. He was under pressure from O’Connell, but that was only until Daniel slipped off the R6 that used to be raced by his late brother Peter. That gifted James Cottrell a second place. He had close attention from Darryl Sharkey, the third finisher.

Rhys Irwin, from Kilmacrennan, in Co Donegal, won the first ‘Young Guns’ race. After recovering from a bad start, Jonny Campbell moved through to second place, but by then Irwin was too far ahead to catch. Jordan McCord finished in third position. McCord won the second race, on a wet track.