Derek Sheils maintained his unblemished record in the Adelaide Insurance Mondello Masters championship over the weekend.
The Dublin-based rider recorded another three straight wins in the Superbike class at the Co Kildare circuit.
The first of Sheils’ wins came in Saturdays race when he was able to make a break over Randalstown man Gerard Kinghan. Sheils had been given a hard time in the early stages of the race by Jamie Patterson, but the Antrim man was forced to retire with an overheating engine. Another local rider, Ryan Rainey, in third place, was only .2 adrift of Kinghan at the flag. In Sundays first race, Derek Sheils led Rainey and Kinghan on the opening lap, but before long Kinghan was able to squeeze by Sheils and into the lead. For a few laps it looked like he was going to be able to make a break, but setting the fastest lap of the race, the Dublin man came back and took the win by .2 from Kinghan. Ryan Rainey carried on his run of good results with a third, another .2 back.
Tramore man Brian McCormack was Sheils’ main opposition in the final race. He was able to push by but could make no break, before Sheils got back into the lead. He hung on to take the race win, with BMac second, only a second back off the pace. Ryan Rainey took another third position, only .2 behind McCormack.
The Supersport 600 class gave us some of the best and closest racing over the weekend. Robert English came from behind to record a win in Saturdays race, beating Conor Parkhill by 1.6 seconds. Just .1 of a second behind, Nikki Coates was always there or thereabouts in third place. In the first race on Sunday, Richie Ryan, whose bike wouldn’t start for the warmup laps and had to have a push from the pit lane marshals, was the early leader. Before the end of the lap, Dundrod man Robert Kennedy and Nikki Coates all had a spell in the lead.
About the halfway point in the race Robert English hit the front, after yet another bad start. Nikki Coates tried his best but couldn’t answer the Bangor rider, who won by 1.7 seconds. Robert Kennedy finished in third position, just .2 back. Nikki Coates had a more or less start to finish win in the final race of the weekend. Robert English had a useful second place, and it that did his championship hopes no harm. Jamie Patterson was third, a way behind the leaders.
Conor Conroy had a double in the two races for the Classic Superbikes class. In the first race he was able to open a slight lead on Des Butler, who moved away from Mike Meskell as the race progressed. Although Butler again provided Conroy with his main opposition in the second race, the Churchtown riders could not get on terms and had to settle for another runner up place, almost 10 seconds adrift. David Moran was third.
Thanks to young Aaron Clifford, the Supertwins class has really been set alight this year. Both he and Dave Butler have provided us with some heart stopping dices. Butler took Saturdays opening race of the weekend. He finished well ahead of Clifford, while Mark McConville was third. Butler led the first race on Sunday, but before long it was Clifford who took over. After that the youngster pulled away from Butler and third placed McConville.
The last race on Sunday was shaping up the same, but just after halfway Butler slowed, retiring to the paddock. It handed the race win to Clifford, who finished some 17 seconds in front of Mark McConville. Vinny Brennan was third, about 10 seconds back.
Alvin Griffin had a treble in the Supersport 400 class. Graham Whitmore, younger brother of Thomas, always gave Griffin a hard time, but simply hadn’t the experience to make a break. Griffin won the opening race of the weekend by almost 8 seconds from Whitmore with Jason Floody a couple of seconds back in third. For a while it looked like Whitmore was going to grab a win in the second race, but recovering from a slow start, Alvin Griffin moved ahead after about 6 or 7 laps. After that it was pretty much game over as the Rathdrum man opened a 4.5 second gap. The top two broke well away from third placed Martin Whearty. The final race was a re ruin of the first one, with Griffin winning from Whitmore and Floody.
Paul McCrea, a former Clubmans Supersport championship winner, was in great form for Saturdays first Pre Injection race. After having to re jet his engine when he found it was running far too rich, McCrea nipped ahead of Kevin Dempsey just after the halfway mark in the race, and opened up a comfortable gap to win by 3.2 seconds. The leaders had gone well away from Steven Nagle, who didn’t seem to be able to match their speed and finished some 10 seconds behind. Mervyn Griffin won the second race, after McCrea crashed out. Kevin Dempsey took second, but was over 4 seconds behind the winner, while Oldcastle man William Moore brought his Honda into third place.
A bit of teamwork from Paul McCrea’s family helped him secure a win in the final race. Kevin Dempsey finished in second place yet again, while Mervyn Griffin recovered a terrible start to move to third.
The 300 Production races all produced the same results. Luke O’Higgins won all three from Lee Hartnett, on the only two stroke in the race. Such was O’Higgins’ pace that he lapped right up to the third placed rider, Donal O’Donovan in the final race.
Peter O’Neill/Jack Galligan won all three sidecar races. In the first, Dylan Lynch and Anthony McDonnell were second, while Pat and Paul Gaffney finished in third place. It was an even more emphatic win in the first outing on Sunday. O’Neill/Galligan won by 7.7 seconds from Lynch/McDonnell, while The Gaffney brothers finished in third. O’Neill and Galligan won the final race, and were well enough ahead that Jack had time to wave to me when I was taking photos! Again, Lynch and McDonnell were second ahead of the Gaffneys.
MID ANTRIM CLUB BIKE RUN
Based in Ballymena, the Mid Antrim Motorcycle club are holding a bike run on Saturday, August 1. Signing on will be from 12.15pm.
Starting at the Vivo shop in Clough, the run will take in a route to Cushendall, Ballycastle and Bushmills before returning to Clough for light refreshments.
There will also be a bike table quiz and a number of spot prizes. Entry is £5 per bike.
ARMOY THIS WEEKEND
The eagerly awaited Armoy road race will be this Friday and Saturday.
Now one of the best road races in the country, Armoy regularly attracts riders from all over Europe and with a tight and technical circuit it’s popular with race fans.
Practice for the meeting will take place on Friday, with roads closed from 12.30pm. It’s planned to run a 600 race after practice, time permitting.
On Saturday the roads are to close at 10am, for an 11 race programme.