In far from ideal conditions, Cody Nally recovered from a bad start to lift the Neil Robinson Memorial Trophy at Kirkistown on Saturday.
The day’s racing was hit hard by torrential rain that lashed the Co Down track for much of the morning, but Davy McCartney, Clerk of the Course for the day, made the very wise decision to radically alter his race programme for the day.
Instead of two shorter races he gave each class one race of 10 laps, with the feature event, the Neil Robinson Memorial Trophy being 12 laps.
Chatting to one of the marshals before the start of the Neil Robinson race, I said that I thought a decent rider on a Supersport 600 bike could win, because the track was wet and slippery with spray getting worse by the minute.
The Superbikes just couldn’t get grip.
It looked like I was going to be proved right when Dundrod rider Robert Kennedy, on his R6, was the early leader, but he soon dropped back, eventually retiring to the pits with a badly steamed up visor.
Kennedy led Crumlin man Ryan Rainey, Nikki Coates and Cody Nally for the first few laps, with nobody being able to break away.
As the race progressed, Nally was able to get into a lead, despite his bike suffering wheelspin almost from Fishermans to the chicane. Nally took the win, and a hard fought one at that, finishing 5.4 seconds ahead of Nikki Coates, while Gareth Keys was third, right on Coates elbow. The official time difference was .001 of a second.
Ryan Rainey grabbed a close victory in the Superbike class. He finished, on a dry track, just over a second in front of Nikki Coates, while Cody Nally took third.
In the Supersport 600 race, Ballynahinch lad Korie McGreevy held the lead on the first lap, followed by Ross Patterson, Robert Kennedy and Jason Lynn.
McGreevy slipped off on the second lap, letting Patterson into a short lived lead.
Robert Kennedy took over on the third lap, moving away to win by 2.5 seconds. Jason Lynn was second, just over a couple of seconds behind Kennedy, while Patterson slipped back to finish a couple of seconds adrift of Lynn.
Portadown man Mark Murphy ran out as the winner of the F1 FE race.
He got the better of Stephen McKeown by less than 2 seconds, with Chris Campbell third.
In the Superbike Cup race, run along with the FE1, Paul Demaine had a handy win. He was over 15 seconds clear of Krzysztof Kapiczak.
Better known as Kris, the Polish man was nearly 10 seconds ahead of Andy McAllister at the finish.
Lisnaskea man Alan Armstrong just got the better of Stephen Montgomery in the Supersport 600 Cup event, with Ballynahinch man Andrew Irvine third.
Rain started to fall heavily as the Supertwins went out for their warm up laps. The decision was made to hold their race back for a few minutes to allow for tyre changes.
For the entire 9 laps, Castleblaneys Joseph Loughlin and Kia McGreevy were wheel to wheel and elbow to elbow.
With a couple of laps to go, Joe got ahead, winning by .5 of a second, while McGreevy was over 10 seconds clear of Toomebridge rider Cahal Graham.
The current 125GP Irish champion confesses not to be a great fan of the 4 stroke twin, but still went well on his ER6.
Run concurrently with the Supertwins, Aghadowey man Eunan McGlinchey easily won the Production twin category.
He finished over 8 seconds ahead of Antrims Matthew Hazlett, while Tam Nicholl from Ballymoney was third.
There was a high rate of attrition in the Pre Injection class. Almost half the starters failed to finish.
Omagh man Alan Graham ran out as the winner, almost 11 seconds ahead of Paul McCrea. McCrea, who survived a heart stopping slide on the warm up lap was the proverbial country mile ahead of Garry Annan at the finish.
Jordan McCord had no equals in the Junior Cup class. He finished almost half a lap ahead of Matthew Campbell, with Dromara’s Sam Laffins third.
Former World champion in minimotos, Jonny Campbell easily won the Young Guns Cup race. He was 9.5 seconds ahead of Andrew Cairns, with Adam Dunn not too far back in third position.
Randalstown man Christian Elkin easily brought Bob Wylie’s Moto3 bike home at the front of the Moto3/GP125 race.
He was over 24 seconds ahead of Cahal Graham. Jonny Campbell finished in third position.
I stand to be corrected here, but this might well have been Campbell’s first run on a GP bike.
Eouin Collins led the SS400 race for the first few laps, but then Andy McAllister went ahead. Collins never relented, but at the finish had .01 of a deficit. Bangor man David Howard was third.
With many of the Classic riders at Walderstown, a small field of bikes came to the line for their race. George Stinson won comfortably. with Martin O’Neill second, Nicky Lamb was the only other rider not lapped.
Peter O’Neill and Jack Galligan had a hard time with Dylan Lynch and Brian Butler in the sidecar race.
Lynch/Butler were the early leaders, but soon O’Neill and Galligan went ahead. Lynch/Butler hung on gamely, but were pipped on the run to the line by only .2 of a second.
Derek Lynch and Michael Keogh were a distant third.
As I mentioned earlier, rain gave the Mid Antrim club a hard time.
The whole club pulled together and delivered a great day’s racing, very much enjoyed by anyone I spoke to.
Well done to Davy McCartney and his crew.
It’s back to Mondello Park this weekend for the Masters series.
I didn’t make the last round, due to having had an operation the day before it, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Anyone pre booking tickets this time can have admission for €10, while on race days only its €12.50.
Under 16’s go free both days.
All classes will be catered for, with as normal practice on Saturday and a full set of races on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday’s racing will be precluded by a short warm up for each class.
Check out the Mondello website for further details.