There was more than one record breaking performance at Kirkistown on Saturday, on a day when weather was far from conducive to fast laps.
The day started off with rain, and that, coupled with strong winds made conditions difficult for riders, especially those on lightweight bikes.
In the Superbike category, the first trace was led away by Dromaras Alistair Kirk, chased by Crumlins Ryan Rainey and David Haire. Rainey ran straight on at Colonials, letting Haire up to second and Mark Glasgow to third. Rainey fought back to third, while Haire grabbed the race win from Kirk by 1.7 seconds.
Ryan Rainey made no mistakes in the second race. Restarted after an earlier incident, again it was Kirk who led away from the line, but before long Rainey had taken over at the front, relegating Kirk to second, ahead of Lisburn man Haire. David Haire dropped Kirk back to third with a lap to go.
Dundrod rider Robert Kennedy had a double in the Supersport 600 races, which provided some of the best entertainment of the day. With one of his normal fast starts, Jamie Patterson from Antrim led on the opening lap. Before long he was passed by Robert Kennedy and Jason Lynn. Kennedy was able to edge away from the rest of the field, eventually winning by almost 3 seconds. A massive gap in the Supersport class. Jason Lynn held off a determined effort from Jamie Patterson in the final couple of laps, to finish .2 ahead of the local man.
There was pretty much a repeat in race two. Jamie Patterson had a fast start, but before long was overhauled by Robert Kennedy. Korie McGreevy got in on the action, with the Ballynahinch rider grabbing second place from Patterson in the closing stages of the race.
Randalstown’s Christian Elkin had a double in the Supertwins races. In the first one he had to come from behind to pass fast starting Adam McLean, Dave Butler and Ross Patterson. Elkin went into the lead at about the halfway point of the race, but could open no real gap between himself and second placed McLean. Ross Patterson was second for a while, but had to settle for third, after McLean set his fastest lap of the race right at the end and moved into second.
It was again McLean who had a fast start in the second race, chased by Elkin and Ross Patterson. Patterson was close to being taken out by crashing Jason Cash at the chicane on the first lap, but escaped by literally inches. Elki went ahead at the halfway point in the race, from Adam McLean and Ross Patterson. The local lad was dropped to fourth towards the end by Dave Butler.
Run concurrently with the Supertwins, the opening Production twins race was won by Luke Hazlett from Antrim. He had a great dice with Craig Ringland, managing to hold off the Ards man by .7 of a second. Jason Cash finished in third place. Craig Ringland won the second outing, with Hazlett 3.2 seconds off the pace. Chris Hillis took third, well in touch with the Antrim rider.
Former Manx Grand Prix winner Andrew Brady was unstoppable in the first Pre Injection race. Breaking his own lap record by .3 of a second Brady took the victory from Steven Titterington by 8.6 seconds. Stevie Titt had recovered from a bad start to go ahead of Jonathan Ralph in the later part of the race. Ralph took the win in the second race, which was for the Presidents Cup. He hit the front from the lights and controlled the pace, winning by .9 of a second. Stevie Titt had a good five seconds on Jonny Aiken for the other two places on the podium. Thomas Lawlor and Michael McKerr were the only two 250GP bikes to race, and they finished in that order twice.
Charles Stuart, from Ballycastle, was in great form in the F1 Forgotten Era races. In the first he finished 34.6 seconds ahead of Chris Dilley, with everybody else retiring for one reason or another. A retirement in the first race, Alvin Griffin was in great form in the second outing. He was never seriously bothered, winning by 3.3 seconds. Stuart finished second and Chris Campbell third, well off the pace. The Supersport Cup, which was run along with the F1 FE race, also gave us some close racing downfield. Alan Armstrong from Lisnaskea just managed to get the better of Steven Navan on the final sprint to the line, with Robert Greer third. Greer improved to win the next race, finishing 9.9 seconds ahead of Navan. Alan Armstrong finished in a distant third place this time, but was right in Navans wheeltracks.
Wicklow man Alvin Griffin had yet another double in the SS400 races. In the opening race, he was hounded every inch of the way by Thomas Gregory. The two leaders had opened a useful gap over Antrim man Peter Fletcher when the red flags went out following an incident involving Mark Camblin. He was not too seriously injured. Griffins main opposition was again provided by Gregory in race two. This time the margin was slightly more emphatic, with 6.4 seconds separating them at the line. Again, it was Peter Fletcher in third place.
The GP125 race was run with the SS400s. Both races were won by Randalstown Eugene McManus. In the first he was chased all the way by Richard Kerr. The Co. Donegal lad missed out by .6 of a second, while Paul Robinson was third. The top three was the same in the second race as well, but this time young McManus took the win by 4.5 seconds. Ballymoney man Robinson was all over the back wheel of Richard Kerr at the flag.
Robert McCrum was without equal in the Classic races. In the first he was well ahead of 350 Honda mounted Barry Davidson, while in third place, Alex Conroy was well in touch with the Glarryford man. Bert led from start to finish in the second race, never under any real pressure from second finisher George Stinson. Mark Johnston finished in third place, his best result to date. Barry Davidson retired from this one due to a carburettor top unscrewing itself, causing the throttle to jam wide open. The Forgotten era race was run concurrently with the Classics. Keith Millen won the both of these. In the first it was Ards man Robbie Richardson who finished in second position, 12.8 seconds behind with Joe O’Kane third. Millen also won the second encounter, this time over 32 seconds ahead of Richardson with O’Kane again third.
The Production 125 and Newcomers races were also great entertainment. Both followed more or less the same pattern. Jack Waring, from Lurgan led both early on, but both times was passed by Warrenpoint lad Connall Courtney. In the first race, Courtney upped the P300 lap record, and did so again in the second race. Jordan Burrows was third in both races.
Despite the worst the weather could throw at it, Clerk of the Course John McAllister did a great job. My thanks as usual to Lesley and the ladies for their hospitality.