Another fantastic day’s road racing at Armoy was marred by the unfortunate crash that put Armoy man Ian Simpson in hospital.
Thankfully, as I write, I’ve learned that Ian has been moved out of intensive care to a high dependency ward and it’s expected that he will make a full recovery.
Friday’s opening Supersport 600 race went to William Dunlop by 3.4 seconds from Guy Martin with Dean Harrison in third place. Sam Wilson was the best local man, finishing in 11th place. Neil Kernohan and Dennis Booth were 19th and 20th respectively.
The first race on Saturday was the Junior Support. After a jump start caused the race to be red flagged, Lisburn’s Timmy Elwood was the early leader, chased hard by Adam Mclean and Brian Coomey. Young Mclean took over at the front on the second lap, and although he didn’t quite match Mark Hannas lap record for the class, he pulled away to record his second ever race win on the roads. Mclean finished 5.3 seconds ahead of second man Brian Coomey after Timmy Elwood had to give best to the Cork man in the closing stages of the race.
Best local rider was Robert Gordon, from Portglenone. Rab finished in 10th place with a fastest lap of 86.638mph. Darryl Tweed from Ballymena was 12th on Willie Mahers 400 Honda. He had a quickest lap of 85.920mph. Nutts Corner man Bryan Harding, on one of the few GP bikes left, finished in 21st place on a quickest lap of 82.885mph. Robert Gordon’s son, Dale, finished in 22nd place, his quickest lap being 82.141mph.
The 125 race was next. Paul Jordan from Magherafelt was a start to finish winner in this one. He took off and was never passed, eventually winning by 4.6 seconds. Ballymena man Sam Wilson, on the Joeys Bar Honda had a hard time with Nigel Moore for the last couple of laps, but the local man managed to pip the Dungannon rider across the line by just .2 of a second. With a lap of 88.078mph, Sam Wilson was the best local, while Neil Kernohan took a very creditable 7th place lapping at 85.029mph.
Red flagged twice after two separate incidents, William Dunlop made short work of the rest of the field in the Supersport 600 race. In shaving 1.1 seconds off younger brother MIchaels 2013 lap record, William led from the opening lap. Dean Harrison was his main opposition in the early part of the race, but towards the end Guy Martin came through to second. William took the race win by 2.7 seconds, while Martin and Harrison were scrapping right to the line, the Kirmington man getting the better of Harrison by just .03 of a second. Randalstown man Christian Elkin finished in 10th place overall, lapping at 99.465mph. Neil Kernohan took 14th place with a fastest lap of 97.985mph. The only other local finisher was Kells man Dennis Booth, who had a lap of 94.974mph on his way to 17th position.
Glarryford man Barry Davidson came from a position on the back row of the second group to win the Junior Classic race. His Honda had stuck in top gear, meaning he hadn’t been able to set a decent time in practice. A bit of midnight oil from ace tuner Sam Dempster had the local man back on the pace again. George Stinson, on his immaculate little 350 Honda, was the early leader, but before long Davidson had worked his way through the traffic to take the lead. Setting the fastest lap of the race with a speed of 79.864mph, Barry won by 25.3 seconds. Mark Johnston, from Dromore, just managed to pip Stinson by .1 of a second on the line. Phil Shaw was the best of the 250 riders.
One of the pre race favourites, Keith Amor, retired in the village on the first lap of the Open race. Guy Martin was never really under any serious pressure here, hitting the front and moving away to win by 2.3 seconds. William Dunlop was never close enough to Martin that he could have made any meaningful challenge for the race win. William was nearly 3 seconds ahead of Derek Sheils at the finish. Dennis Booth, with a fastest lap of 95.671,mph was our only local finisher.
The Senior Classic looked like it was setting up to be another Robert McCrum benefit. Richard Ford led away from the line, but McCrum recovered and was right with the Garstang man when the unthinkable happened and Berts bike, stopped with a gearbox problem, handing a win to Fordy by 38.1 seconds. Freddie Stewart was the first 500cc machine home in second place, while Billy Lyle was third.
Ballymena’s Sam Wilson won the 250GP race. He hit the front from the start and controlled the race well despite being under severe pressure from Michael Dunlop in the final couple of laps. Another Ballymena man Neil Kernohan had been running in second place in the early stages of the race, but was soon relegated to third by Dunlop. Neil’s normally very reliable bike stopped with a couple of laps to go, putting the local man out of a certain third place. Paul Robinson finished third. Sam Wilsons quickest lap was 95.138mph. Our only other local finisher was Bryan Harding on 9th.
Riding for the Ballymena based RT&E team, Czech Republic rider Michal Dokoupil took a win in the SS400 race. The race was red flagged on the fifth lap, with Seamus Elliott setting a new lap record and closing right in on ‘Indi’ on lap three. The result gave the Czech man a .1 second win. Skerries man David Howard finished in third place. Darryl Tweed was 5th lapping at 87.280mph, while Robert Gordon finished in 8th place with a lap of 85.063mph. Dale Gordon took 10th place with a lap of 81.706mph.
Ryan Farquhar set a new lap record in the Supertwins race. He had to come from behind Derek McGee, but did so, slipping into a lead at about the halfway point of the race. The Killyman rider could make no real break, though, and McGee hung on to finish only 1.7 seconds back. Conor Behan took third, but in truth, never looked like troubling the leaders. Christian Elkin finished in 5th place with a fastest lap of 96.404mph.
Dean Campbell was the leader in the first few laps of the Senior Support. Before long he had slipped back to third place, passed by Kevin Fitzpatrick and Ryan Maher. That was the finishing order, with Fitzpatrick winning by 2.2 seconds. Darryl Tweed took 6th place, credited with a lap of 93.545mph, while Ahoghill man Nigel McAuley was 24th, lapping at 77.899mph.
Michael Dunlop came to the line for the final race of the day in a very determined mood. Guy Martin led Dean Harrison and Michael for the first few laps, but then the Ballymoney man got his head down and dropped both of the Englishmen behind him. Michael won by 2.4seconds from Martin with Dean Harrison in third place, about 8 seconds back from Martin to complete a good day’s racing, and organised to the standard that we have come to expect from the Armoy club.