The penultimate meeting in this year’s Adelaide Insurance sponsored Mondello Masters series was held last weekend.
In perfect weather conditions the racing at the Co. Kildare circuit was some of the best and closest I’ve seen all year.
Portadown man Marshal Neill was unstoppable in the Superbike races, winning four out of four. In Saturdays first outing he was pressed hard by Brian McCormack and Cody Nally. McCormack, from Tramore, was the early leader but Neill went ahead about the fourth lap. BMac had another short spell in the lead, but Neill grabbed the race win from McCormack, by just .2 of a second. Cody Nally finished third, a similar distance in arrears.
Antrim’s Jamie Patterson led Cody Nally for the first lap of the opening Superbike race on Sunday, but was soon relegated down the order by Neill, who won by .1 with Nally in runner up. Brian McCormack finished in third place. In the second race on Sunday, it was Nally who provided the main opposition to Marshall Neill. At the finish there was little over a bike length separating them, while McCormack slipped back to over 6 seconds, perhaps paying the price for using the same tyres in three races.
The last outing for the Superbikes pitted them against the fastest riders from other classes as well, as the Grand Final concept has been revived for the Masters. Brian McCormack led with Neill. Jamie Patterson was also well in the mix, but sadly slid off unhurt. Cody Nally brought his ZX10 home in second place, half a second behind Neill, while it was again Brian McCormack who finished in third place, a couple of seconds down.
Saturday’s Supersport 600 race was a heart stopper. Jamie Patterson was the leader for much of the race, but was never any more than a few feet ahead of Robert English, Carl Phillips, Jason Lynn, Conor Parkhill and Richie Ryan. At almost every corner the order changed. Lynn went into the lead towards the finish, but was never able to put any more than a split seconds into anybody else. At the line Jason won, just .1 ahead of Jamie Patterson, while Carl Phillips was third, still well within a second of the winner.
The first race on Sunday morning was another belter. Jason Lynn, on the Walter Bell backed Suzuki, held a slender lead at the start, but was soon caught and passed by the slower starting Conor Parkhill. The Eglinton lad held off to win by .8 of a second. Carl Phillips finished in second place, while Lynn slipped to third. The top five were all inside 2 seconds of the leader.
It was a similar story in the last Supersport 600 race as well. This time the man who came out on top was Jamie Patterson, from Antrim. He had to work hard for it as well. Robert English led in the early part of the race, but Patterson sat on his rear wheel and watched. About the fourth lap the local rider hit the front. He was forced on by Conor Parkhill, who again had to recover from a bad start. Parkhill went ahead, for a few seconds, before overshooting the hairpin, and falling off. Not that that gave Patterson any breathing space. Robert English finished in second place, .2 back, while third went to Jason Lynn, just half a second behind.
Alvin Griffin was in great form in the SS400 races. On Saturday he was streets ahead of everybody else, winning from the start. At the line he had an 11 seconds cushion over Andrew Whearty, while Jason Floody was just over 2 seconds back.
It was pretty much the same on Sunday as well, although Whearty was back to within 2.4 seconds of Griffin. Jason Floody had held third for most of the race, but in the closing stages Gavin PJ Quinn dived under him, holding on to finish in third place, right on Wheartys rear wheel. Again, Griffin took the race win in the final race of the weekend. Again, Andrew Whearty was the runner up, although there was a big more of a gap this time. The top two had broken away from Jason Floody, who finished in third place.
Ronan Shanahan was in a class of his own in the Pre Injection races. Riding his GP250 Honda, he was never headed, as he won all three races over the course of the weekend. On Saturday, Shanahan hit the front from the lights. He never managed to make a decent break, as Kevin English and Austen Wilson were having a great dice for the lower places. At the finish Shanahan won, by 2.5 seconds over English. Wilson finished in third place, .3 behind.
On Sunday, it was again Ronan Shanahan who took the first race win, breaking away from the dice for the lower places. This time Wilson exacted revenge on English, the Cork man coming out on top by over 5 seconds. Again Ronan Shanahan comfortably won the final race. He hit the front from the start and was never seriously challenged. Austen Wilson was 3.8 seconds back, and had to work to stay in front of Stephen Doyle, who eventually finished in third place.
Drew Jamison left Mondello unbeaten all weekend in the Supertwins class. His main opposition came from Philip McNally, but the Trim rider just didn’t seem to have the outright speed to run with Jamison. He was 7 seconds behind at the finish in Saturday’s race, while James Chawke was well in touch with McNally in third.
Philip McNally was well in touch with Jamison in Sunday’s first race, but slid off his bike, unhurt. It handed a comfortable second place to James Chawke. The Rathkeale rider didn’t get it handy, though, as Mark McConville was third, just .1 behind. A few hasty repairs and McNally was back to hounding Jamison in the final race of the weekend. He ended up 8 seconds back, while Chawke was third, over 5 seconds back.
If there was racing that was not exciting it was the Classic Superbike class. On Saturday Mick McEvoy took a race win, finishing over 6 seconds ahead of Sam Wright. Ian Whearty was third, a similar distance back. Barry Gill, a front runner at Mondello a few years back, had a double on Sunday. On his RC30, Gill easily won the first race, finishing almost 11 seconds ahead of another name from yesteryear, Mike Meskell. Mick McEvoy took third place, about half a second behind Meskell. Gill won the final encounter, while Meskell and McEvoy swopped their positions. Meskell was well behind McEvoy.
Paul Swords won Saturdays Superbike and Supersport B race. He was chased hard by Jamie Masterson. Better known as Flash, Masterson was well in touch at the finish, and looked like another couple of laps and he would have taken the race win. Flash just missed out by .3 of a second, while Portadowns Mark Murphy took third, well in touch.
On Sunday, Stradbally man John Cahill led the first race from the line. In the closing stages, however, it was Drogheda man Stephen McCormack who proved to be the stronger rider, coming through and winning by a couple of seconds. The top two had pulled away, although Brian Flannery managed to get up to third place, a couple of seconds behind. Cahill won the last race, hitting the front from the lights. Flanno was second, 3.5 seconds behind the winner and Noah Holmes third, right in the wheeltracks of Flannery.
Dylan Lynch and Stephen Mullan had a treble in the sidecar races. On Saturday they were chased over the line by Peter O’Neill and Jack Galligan, who just missed out by .1 of a second. Terry O’Reilly and Clive Russell were third. Lynch and Mullan took Sundays first race comfortably. They were never really pushed hard as they opened a 5 second gap over Mick Donovan with stand in passenger Dave Butler, who would be better known as a Supertwins rider. They finished nearly 2 seconds ahead of Terry O’Reilly and Clive Russell. The last race was closer still. Dylan Lynch and Stephen Mullan were never given any breathing space as they just managed to hold off a late challenge from Donovan and Butler. Half a second was the difference at the finish, while O’Reilly and Russell were third.
The final round will be on October 4-5, on the International track. Kevin Keyes has already tied up the Supersport Cup championship, being just about unbeaten in it all year.
This weekend we are faced with another of these silly double header weekends. For short circuit fans, Kirkistown hosts a round of the ISB championship, while the Country Crest sponsored Killalane road race is the final roads meeting of the year.
Also at Kirkistown, the Fancy Dress sponsored walk in aid of the MCUI Medical team and the Injured Riders Fund will take place during the lunch interval. Sponsorship forms can be downloaded from the Emerald Road Racing website. Fancy dress is, of course, optional, but we thought it would add to the fun for youngsters, who are also very welcome to take part. According to the club, the walk is due to start at about 12noon, and will have about half an hour to clear the circuit. Again, my thanks to the Belfast and District club for permitting the walk to go ahead.
For a few years now, Country Crest have been the title backers of the Killalane road races, outside Skerries. Again, this year, they will sponsor the final round of the Irish road racing championship.
Most of the titles are already decided. There are, however, a couple left for grabs. Nigel Moore is just 1.5 points ahead of Sam Dunlop in the GP125 class. They are the only two numerically that have any chance of winning it. Basically, what it boils down to is whoever beats the other one is the champion. Michael Sweeney is the GP250 champion, while his fellow Skerries resident David Howard is the 400 champion. Conor Behan has won the Supertwins championship while Derek McGee is the Supersport champion. Manxman Dan Kneen, despite having a broken ankle, has the Superbike championship wrapped up. With 14 points separating Derek Costello and Sean Connolly, the Senior Support class is still wide open.
Ballymena man Neil Kernohan can’t win the Senior Support now, as he’s 29 points behind Neil Lyons.
All the Classic championships have been decided. Phil Shaw is the 250 winner. Glarryford man Barry Davidson is the 350 champion, Gary Jamison the 500 and Robert McCrum the 1000cc winner.