Guy Martin delivered a stern warning to his rivals ahead of next month’s North West when he took two wins at the Cookstown 100 last Saturday.
After Fridays practice, which started in the dry and finished on wet, slippery roads, Martin didn’t really look to be a serious threat, but riding his new BMW, which he described as ‘Mega’ the first of Martins wins came in the opening Superbike race.
He held off the best Michael Dunlop could throw at him, to take victory by .1 of a second. Dublins Derek Sheils finished in third place, over 3 seconds back. The best of our local riders was Stephen Thompson, from Crumlin. He finished in 9th place, lapping the 2.1 mile Orritor track at 85.687mph. Kells man Dennis Booth finished in 16th place, with a fastest lap of 81.295mph.
The Cookstown 100 A race also went to Martin. He had led from the start, but Michael Dunlop got ahead on the sixth lap. Almost immediately, Dunlop and his new R1 parted company, and although the Ballymoney man was unhurt. The race was red flagged and Martin declared the winner. Micky D’s departure moved Derek Sheils to runner up and hoisted Dean Harrison to third. With a fastest lap of 86.705mph, Stephen Thompson was the only local finisher, in 8th place.
The Supersport 600 A race was won by William Dunlop. He was never under any serious pressure as he finished .7 ahead of Derek McGee, who was having his first road race on new backer Wilson Craig’s Hondas. Less than half a second behind McGee, Dean Harrison took third place. Dennis Booth finished in 17th place, his fastest being 80.871mph.
The Invitation Supersport 600 race also went to Dunlop, who finished well ahead of Dean Harrison. The Bradford man had Jamie Hamilton for close company as he crossed the finish line. Best local was Sam Wilson. On his ZX6R, Sam was 12th, having a quickest lap of 83.2mph, while recently married Dennis Booth finished in 18th place with a lap of 80.852mph.
Michael Dunlop’s only race win came in the Supertwins A race. He saw off a challenge from Michael Sweeney, to register the win by .5 of a second. Jamie Hamilton and James Cowton had a race long dice for the final podium spot, with Hamilton finally getting the verdict by only .2 of a second. Cowton had the consolation of taking a second off Ryan Farquhar’s lap record for the class.
The newly formed Joey’s Bar race team took its first win in the Moto3/ 125GP race when Ballymena man Sam Wilson blasted ahead of the rest of the field. Former Cookstown winner Nigel Moore simply wasn’t fast enough to deal with Wilson, who clinched the teams first race win by 2.7 seconds. Moore was second and Paul Jordan from Magherafelt third. Neil Kernohan finished in 6th place, the Ballymena man lapping at 73.345mph.
Coleraine man Ian Morrell was in record breaking form in the Supersport 400 race. He broke Alastair Haworths 2 year old lap record and was never headed as he took the race win, finishing almost 9 seconds ahead of Alastair Bayley. He had to recover a bad start to move to the runner up slot, but by then Morrell was well ahead. Ballymoney man Seamus Elliott finished in third place.
We had three local riders in this race. The best of them was Portglenone man Robert Gordon. In taking 9th place Rab lapped at 74.105mph. In a brilliant road race debut, Parkgate man Peter Fletcher finished in 13th place. His quickest lap was 72.546mph. Mark Shields from Ballymena finished in 19th position with a fastest lap of 70.788mph.
The Junior Support race was a real nail biter. Cork man Brian Coomey had a few problems with his Supertwin in practice, finally tracing them to a head gasket that was on its way out. He made the decision to race the bike anyway and with a lap to go was closing on race leader Ben Rea. On the very final bend, just 100 yards from the line, Coomey grabbed the lead and held on to win by .1 of a second.
In his very first road race, young Adam McLean finished third, just over a second adrift. Darryl Tweed, from Ballymena, was our only local rider here. In his first Cookstown, and only his second road race, race he finished in 11th place, lapping at 75.169mph.
The Senior Support race went to Dean Campbell, after a great dice with Kevin Fitzpatrick. Both took turns to lead, but it was Campbell, from nearby Cookstown, who ended up crossing the line first, 1.5 ahead of Fitzpatrick, with Seanie Smith right on their back wheels.
Again, Darryl Tweed was our only local finisher. Taking 10th place, his quickest circuit was a very creditable 80.067mph.
Glarryford man Barry Davidson was unbeaten in his two Classic races. In the Junior category he finished 4.5 seconds ahead of Nigel Moore, with Scottish visitor Davie Hastings in a distant third place. Phil Shaw was the best of the 250 riders, and the first 2 stroke across the finish line. He was some 3 seconds ahead of Richard Ford, with Andy Hunt well behind in third. Our only local representative was Barry Davidson. He set the fastest lap of the race, lapping at 69.23mph.
One of the pre race favourites for the Senior Classic race, Bert McCrum was listed as a non starter after a fall in Friday night’s practice. It pretty much assured Richard Ford of the race win. There were only two finishers, with Ford winning from Chris McGahon. Barry Davidson took the win in the 500cc category. Barry was able to make a break over Scot Wattie Brown and setting the quickest lap of the race, 71.429mph, took the win by some 8 seconds. Emyvale man Freddie Stewart was third.
With the Cookstown track being so short, 2.1 miles, and with all races well oversubscribed, B races were run. The first of the Superbike B events went to Paul Gartland, who pipped Ben Rea on the line by .05 of a second. English rider Joe Newbould won the second Superbike B event, with Gartland second.
The Supersport 600 B race was won by Andy Lawson. He was pressed hard by Ballymena man Sam Wilson, who, despite setting the fastest lap of the race at 85.15mph, had to give best to the Scot by a second.
Paul Gartland won the Supertwins race B, from Barry Sheehan while Derek Wilkie beat Indi back to second in the Junior Support B. Sean Seddon took a .3 of a second race win over similarly mounted Derek Wilkie in the Senior Support B event. Both on 675 Triumphs. Wayne Sheehan won a 3 lap sprint of a Junior Support B event. In his first ever road race, Sheehan beat Rikki McGovern by .2 of a second.
TANDRAGEE THIS WEEKEND
This weekend is one of my own personal favourite road races. The Tandragee 100.
Practice will be on Friday with roads closing at 3.30pm. Saturday roads shut at 10am. This year we will see Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor back out racing with each other. Thats a mouth watering thought to say the least.