Lap records tumble on a day of high speed action at Kirkistown
Despite the fact that rain fell early in the meeting at Kirkistown last Saturday, it quickly dried and we were treated to a very enjoyable day’s sport.
Cody Nally returned from BSB to race at ISB, following a split with his team across the water. He took the race win in the opening outing of the day for the Superbikes.
Cody took a few laps to get his head round a rapidly drying track and then moved into the lead, pulling away to win by 2.3 seconds. Nico Mawhinney finished in second place, with Lisburn’s David Haire right on his back wheel. Haire improved in the second race, taking the win. Mawhinney, who now tops the championship table, finished in the runner up position again while Denver Robb just managed to hold off Jonny Buckley to take third.
The two Supersport races were the best of the day. Mark Conlin won both. In the first he came from behind to beat Carl Phillips by .3 of a second. Phillips was just .1 ahead of early leader Jamie Patterson. The Antrim lad was .4 ahead of Joe Loughlin. Conlin held off Jamie Patterson in the second race, winning by .1 while a further half second in arrears was Carl Phillips.
One of the pre race favourites, Dave Butler coasted to a halt on the opening lap of the Stocktwins race. The cause was a broken throttle cable.
It handed a win to Daniel Annett, who was .4 ahead of Banbridge’s Marty Lennon took second and broke the lap record on his way. He had pulled out a useful gap on Aaron Armstrong.
In the Supertwins race, which ran concurrently with the Stocktwins, the winner was Korie McGreevy. The Ballynahinch lad came from behind to pass and pull away from Trevor Elliott. Castleblaney rider Daryl Duffy finished in third place, a similar distance adrift of Elliott.
With the cable repaired, Dave Butler won the second Stocktwins race from Daniel Annett. Annett broke the lap record, with the top two pulling well away from Aaron Armstrong. The second Supertwins race followed a similar pattern to the first with Korie McGreevy recovering from a bad start to pass Trevor Elliott. The top two had pulled away from Daryl Duffy.
Jamie Masterson took both the Superbike and Supersport Cup races. In the first he passed Michael Watt, but could open no gap on him. Watt was .3 back at the line with Morgan Jennings third. Michael Hoey took the runner up berth in the next race, with Michael Watt third.
The Pre Injection races were also out of the top drawer. In the first, local man Mark Featherstone just managed to pip Steven Clark by .4 while Stephen McKeown was third, just over a second back. There was to be no double for Featherstone, however. He crashed on the opening lap of the second race, causing the red flags to come out. He wasn’t seriously injured, returning to the paddock in the medical car. On the restart Johnny Aiken hit the front and hung onto a narrow advantage. He won by .1 from Steven Clark, with Stephen McKeown a similar distance back in third.
Stephen McKeown set a new lap record in the opening Forgotten Era F1 race, upping it again in the second one. He pulled out a slight gap over Mark Murphy in the first race, with Marty McCloy third, well back. Chris Campbell finished in third in the next race, behind the same top two, McKeown and Murphy.
Ballymena’s Kirk Dickey slid out of contention in the first SS400 race, which was held on a treacherous track. It gave Stephen Shortt a race win, I understand it’s his first. Alvin Griffin, a man who I would have expected to have been well up there, just didn’t look at ease with the track conditions and a damage limitation exercise handed him a second place ahead of Adrian Gordon.
Adi’s girlfriend, Angela Kernahan had the misfortune to slide off at the hairpin. She was uninjured.
A few repairs effected and Kirk Dickey won the second race. Alvin Griffin again took second place, while Stephen Shortt slipped back to third.
Run along with the SS400’s the Moto3/125GP, was a record breaking cakewalk for Conor Parkhill. Ominously, he broke the lap record on a damp track, winning by 10.5 seconds. Korie McGreevy took second ahead of Andrew Pollack. On a now totally dry track, Parkhill took a further 3.2 seconds off the lap record in the second outing. McGreevy was second again with Nigel Percy right on his rear wheel at the finish.
Kevin Keyes beat Sammy Bentley in both GP125 Newcomers races, while the 125 Production race was won by Lee Bradshaw. Richard Kerr had led, but slipped back to second with Aaron Wright in third place. Young Aaron set a new Production 250 lap record in this race, which he raised on his way to fifth place in the second race. Richard Kerr took the second race win, with Aaron Clifford just .4 back. Lee Bradshaw was well in touch in third.
Just weeks before the start of the Irish road race season, I was stunned to learn that a man whom I’d known for many years, Denis Gallagher, had an illness from which we knew he would not recover. I’m now gutted to learn that he has passed away, aged 75.
He was born on the 15th February 1938 and grew up in the tough Glasgow suburb of the Gorbals. He saw his first bike race in 1955, and from then there was nothing he wanted to do only race. The first bike was bought from money saved from repairing his friends bikes and in 1957 he achieved his ambition by taking to the track for the first time.
Denis was a gifted engineer and constantly improved the standard parts himself. Bob McIntyre was a great friend and mentor to Denis, and he told me once that he was the last person to speak to Bob before his fatal accident at Oulton Park in 1961. Bob used to slip Denis an odd wee fancy part, as he called it, for his bikes.
Denis won his first championship in the early 60’s and became a double Scottish champion in 1968, winning the 350 and 500 titles. His first of many Irish titles came his way at Carrowdore in 1965. Some 45 years later, he took his final championship, the Classic 350 Irish.
He had also 51 starts on the TT circuit, until they refused his entry when he was 64, saying he was too old. He promptly borrowed a push bike and cycled a lap of the Mountain circuit to raise money for the Helicopter Rescue Service.
For many years he was a familiar sight over here at the road races, with his wife Phyllis and the wee dog. His 350 Honda was one of the cleanest, best prepared machines on the grid.
One of my heroes, and a man I’m proud to have known, passed away on May 28th, in Girvan Community Hospital from a rare form of Dementia. My condolences to Phyllis and the rest of the family circle.