RIDERS' FOREST FIRE
AFTER the weather forced the Mid Antrim club to postpone the Shane Cup Trial a couple of weeks ago, the event finally took place at the popular Parkmore Forest venue, last Saturday.
With the initial cancellation being caused by deep snow, it was melting snow, and the fact that the rivers were running high that was the main source of problems for the riders on Saturday.
Of the 83 riders who braved the elements, it was Michael Burton who emerged as the overall winner, dropping just 62 marks for the four lap event. Burton was 23 marks better than Andy Perry, the best Ulster Centre rider, while it was Sean Doyle who completed the top three. Doyle lost 99 marks.
In Grade B, Ballymena's William Dickey took what has now become his customary win, going down 45 marks. Gilford teenager Jonny Lunney and Simon Flood both dropped 52 marks, and so needed a tie breaker to sort them out. Lunney got the verdict. His total had 24 cleans to the 19 of Flood.
John Heenan took a comfortable win the C Grade, finishing with the loss of 39 marks. Robert McCrory was runner up on 47, just 6 ahead of Aaron Smyth. Geordie Robinson was the winner of the close fought Grade D category. Geordie finished, dropping just 24 marks, 5 better than Colin Stewart. Andy Higgins was third, on 31.
In the Youth A category it was Ryan Sailes who took the overall win, his score being 37, while Chris Brown, on 45 was second. Darragh Ewen was third on 47. Killian Callaghan was the winner of the Youth B grade. He dropped 31, while Josh Caldwell and Stuart McClurg needed a tie breaker to determine the better man. Caldwell was finally announced as having got the verdict, with his score having 16 cleans to the 18 or McClurg.
After the event, it was back to the Glensway, where Colm McGlade sorted out refreshments. The Mid Antrim Club have also asked me to thank DARD, for the use of the land, and the Michelin Club for their continued backing of their club championship.
Glarryford road racer Barry Davidson is holding a fundraising Disco in the Clough Glasgow Rangers Club on Saturday night week, the 27th March.
I had a bit of a yarn with Barry about his plans for the incoming season. He tells me that he is to ride the 250 Honda that he has raced for the past few years now for Crumlin man Cleaver Brown. On top of this there's the beautiful little 200cc Honda that he races for Sammy Dempster.
When he goes to the Isle of Man for the Post TT meeting at Billown, Barry will bring over the reverse cylinder Yamaha that belongs to Stewart Smith, while he will also have the bike for the Post Classic Manx GP.
As this isn't enough, the local man will have selected road outings in Southern Ireland on the very potent 350 Honda that has been raced in the past by Ed Manly. The bike will also be available to him for the Pre TT at Billown.
When he's sitting about doing nothing, Barry will also have the SV650 that is raced by Stephen Gilpin for a few races.
With a seasons racing like that planned, its no wonder he has to hold a few fund-raisers! Don't forget, the Rangers Club, March 27.
MID-ANTRIM NINETIES NIGHT
This Saturday night, March 20, the Mid Antrim club are holding a Nineties Night in the Rangers Club, Clough.
The evening will start with a display of old photos from the Clough circuit, which was first used in 1989. Ballymena's Trevor Armstrong will have a dig through his files for this one.
The press release also says that there will be a small display of race machines from that era, thanks to me. If it's thanks to me alone it will certainly be small - I only have the one!
Then a chat show, where a number of top riders from the 90's will give their views on racing, and the state of it at the minute. That's sure to be a lively discussion, following the pretty damning report on the state of road racing after the inquest on John Donnan.
Riders I understand to be pencilled in for the chat show are former Ballymena man Stephen Hazlett, Jonny Rea, James Courtney, Brian Reid, Adrian Archibald and Ryan Farquhar.
The evening will finish off with a Disco, with music by Davy Black, himself a regular road race competitor.
Admission will be 5, and all money will go towards promoting the Mid Antrim 150.
Then the following Thursday night, the 25th, local photographer Stephen Davidson will give a presentation of his slides from his career of photographing road racing. This will be in the Ecos Centre, Ballymena, at 8pm.
SHORT CIRCUIT OPENER
The 2010 Irish Clubmans Championship will get under way this weekend, when upwards of 200 riders will take to the Bishopscourt circuit, many for their first race meeting.
In the 125 Production class, there is no local interest, but the GP125 Newcomers, which runs concurrently, we have no less than three riders from the Antrim/Ballymena area.
Ahoghill lad Luke Johnston has performed well in the Production class last year, winning the Ulster series and finishing second in the Irish. He has decided to make the step up to the GP class, and on his little Bobby Logan backed Honda, he impressed at Bishopscourt two weekends ago. According to Dad Barry, he needs a bit more time on the bike to get used to it.
Also down to race is Ballymena former MX rider Sam Wilson. Sam impressed me greatly with his performances at the MCUI Race School, and I feel that if anyone is going to push Luke for the championship, it will be him. He was neat, stylish and deceptively fast.
Jonny Hanna, from Antrim comes from from a racing family. His elder brother is Mark, and Dad Roy has helped a number of racers, including the late Rikki McCready, Darren Lindsay and Ryan Farquhar. Jonny stepped off the little Honda in the final race school, but was nicely on the pace before he stepped off.
There's no local interest in the Pre97, but in the Bridgestone Supersport 600 class, Robert Kennedy, from Dundrod, Nigel Green from Ballymena and Alex Knowles from Antrim are all due to come to the line. I see as well, that there is a David Grimes from Kells. I'm not sure if its the Kells here, or in the South.
Corran Smyth and Keith Moore, both from Ballymena are entered in the Bridgestome Senior class.
There will be a couple of national Open races, where riders will be anxious to grab some track time before the ISB series gets under way at Easter. Crumlin's Stephen Thompson, Alistair Kirk, James Dickson, Gerard Kinghan, Denver Robb, who will turn out on his new bikes for the first time since splitting with MarTrain, Michael Pearson, Brian McCormack, Mark Johnston, William Davison, and Jonny Buckley are all entered for what should be the fastest race of the day.
Practice gets under way at 9am, with the first race due off at 12.30pm, and as usual I will have full reports and photos in next week's Times.