We had some great racing and fabulous weather at Mondello Park at the weekend, in the latest round in Ireland’s premier short circuit series.
In the first Superbike race, held on Saturday afternoon, Bangors Robert English ran out as the winner, by 2.5 seconds.
Cody Nally and Nikki Coates were elbow to elbow for most of the race, with Coates coming out on top by .3 of a second.
It was again English, Coates and Nally in the opening race on Sunday, while in the final race of the weekend, Coates got the better of English, edging him out by .1 of a second. Nally was right in their wheeltracks.
As we have come to expect, the Supersport 600 class set up some of the best racing of the weekend.
In Saturday’s race, it was Richie Ryan who edged out Ahoghill’s Luke Johnston. Ryan had to overcome a sluggish start, moving ahead of the local rider to win by .6 of a second.
Cullybackey rider Dean McMaster was a steady third, and now looks like he’s found his form again after a nasty crash last year.
Sunday’s opening race again saw the same first two, with Dean McMaster moving past Nikki Coates to take third place.
Almost as quick, McMaster slipped off his Triumph, restoring the Glengormley rider to the final podium position.
The final race was again shaping up to be a replay of the other two, with Richie Ryan and Luke Johnston wheel to wheel.
Unfortunately, Ryan’s bike had a battery wire come adrift, sidelining the Co. Cork man. It handed the win to Johnston, while Jason Lynn beat Nikki Coates back to third by under half a second.
The Superbike and Supersport cup races were all hectic affairs.
The first one went to Paul Hurley. Hurley had to work hard for the win, getting the better of Keiron Moore and Michael Browne.
After that, the weekend belonged to Browne, who won both of Sunday’s races from Hurley.
In the first one Keiron Moore finished in third place, while Alan Armstrong filled the final podium place in the last race of the weekend.
Kevin Dempsey won Saturday’s Pre Injection race. In fairness the race soon developed into a procession, with James McKenna and Daniel O’Connell second and third.
The first Pre Injection race on Sunday was red flagged before half a lap had been completed. On the restart the red flags again came out, this time on the second lap. For the third time of asking, McKenna took the win, while O’Connell finished well ahead of Paul McCrea.
The final race of the weekend for the PI lads gave McKenna a comfortable win over O’Connell, while Paul McCrea was a distant third.
The SS400 and Classic Superbike races were all won by Hilton Hincks.
Better known as Busty before he retired, Hincks was in a class of his own, sporting his familiar number 49 on a 250 Honda.
Tim O’Kennedy was second ahead of Drogheda man John Ella. Ella got the better of O’Kennedy in the first race on Sunday, while the swapped places yet again in the final race of the weekend.
Lisnaskea lad Aaron Armstrong was unstoppable in the Supertwins races. He won all three. On Saturday Dave Butler was within .2 of a second having broke well away from Jason Cash.
Butler was leading the first race on Sunday morning till he outbraked himself at the hairpin, running slightly off line. Armstrong went ahead and quickly opened a gap. Drogheda rider Mark McConville, better known as Harry for some reason, finished third.
There was the same outcome in the last race as well, with Aaron Armstrong taking the win over Butler, and Mark McConville third.
The next generation were in action as well. In all three races I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance as dominant as Kilmacrennan lad Rhys Irwin.
He was almost a full lap ahead of the second placed rider Brendan Glover. Young Glover had a great scrap with Maurice Kelly, only managing to open a small gap in the closing stages. Breaking the lap record more than once during Sunday’s first race, Rhys Irwin was in great form.
Portglenone schoolboy Tom Greenwood, who fell disputing second place on Saturday, held it together this time to take second, half a second ahead of Maurice Kelly.
In the final race, Irwin was judged to have jumped the start and handed a 20 second penalty. So what! Again breaking the lap record the youngster took the win by almost 38 seconds.
Tom Greenwood was involved in a three way dice for the lower places, coming out ahead of Shane O’Donovan by .2 of a second.
Dylan Lynch/Brian Butler took the race win in Saturdays sidecar race. Dylan’s former passenger, brother Derek, finished second chaired by Michael Keogh. Scobby Killough and Eamon Mulholland were third, well back. Lynch looked like he was on for another win on Sunday, but after a slow start, Mick Donovan with Dave Butler passengering for him, moved ahead winning by 2.3 seconds. Lynch took second with brother Derek again third.
Dylan and Brian Butler took the race win in the last race, while Donovan/Butler just had no answer for the Dublin man. The top two had moved well away from Derek Lynch/Michael Keogh at the line.
A brilliant weekends sport, in scorching hot conditions. Satutrday’s practice and full set of races were done and dusted at 4pm.
Despite a few red flag incidents on Sunday we were still cleared up in plenty of time. Well done to Daire Lowe and his team.
It’s back to the roads this weekend with the Faugheen race meeting in Co Cork. I won’t be at this one, but I hope to have race results sent to me in enough time to bring them to you next weekend.