Local boys Michael and William Dunlop were amongst the winners at the fifth annual Armoy road races. William Dunlop won the Supersport and 250cc races, while his brother Michael was victorious in both Superbike races, including the ‘Race of Legends’. The Dunlop brothers were joined at the meeting by Guy Martin, Conor Cummins, and relative road racing newbie Jeremy McWilliams, amongst others.
A sunny Saturday featured an action packed eleven race programme, including practice sessions left over from Friday. This included qualifying for the Senior Support race and the Supertwins. The 125cc race kicked off the day with Christian Elkin coming home victorious. He finished ahead of Sam Dunlop and Sam Wilson. In the Junior Support race it was Mark Hanna who was the winner, with Connor Behan in second and Shane Egan third. In the first big race of the day, the Supersport race, it was Michael Dunlop who had qualified on pole position ahead of William Dunlop and Guy Martin. When the lights went out it was Guy Martin who got the best start, leading the group into the chicane and the start of the lap. KMR rider Jamie Hamilton impressively got into second and the pair maintained 1-2 for the first lap. However, as the race progressed William Dunlop moved into the lead and eventually won the race, setting a new fastest lap and lap record on the way. He finished ahead of Michael Dunlop and Guy Martin. Jamie Hamilton had to settle for fourth, a second down on third.
Next up were the Junior Classic machines with Barry Davidson remaining unbeaten this year in the 350cc class. Kevin Strowger was the first 250cc home but not without problems. He started on the front row of the grid but on the warm up lap he had problems getting away, and was left lagging behind. He made it to the back of the third group just in time to start the race (with no time to spare) and classified third on corrected time. In the first Superbike race of the day it was Michael Dunlop who started from pole, with Derek Shiels and Guy Martin also on the front row. The order did not change much in the race with Michael Dunlop winning, but finishing ahead of Guy Martin in second and Derek Shiels in third. The lap record was broken by Michael Dunlop with it rising from 105.893mph to 106.812mph. In the Senior Classic race Robert McCrum ran away with the race, finishing a staggering 19 seconds clear of Richard Ford and John Scott.
William Dunlop was the winner in the 250cc race, finished ahead of Sam Wilson and Michael Sweeney. Andy Farrell, Gavin Lupton, and Vic Allan finished on the podium for the 400cc race. They were joined by the Moto 450 class on the grid, with Seamus Elliot winning from Darren Gilpin. Next up was the Senior Support race which was won by Armoy newcomer Connor Behan on a KMR Kawasaki. On his way to the chequered flag he broke the lap record by over 2mph. He finished ahead of Mark Hanna and Shane Egan.
The Supertwins race saw unbeaten Jamie Hamilton line up alongside team-mate, and road-racing newcomer Jeremy McWilliams. He gap between the pair in qualifying was just over two seconds. It was an extremely close fought race between the pair of them, with McWilliams attaching himself to Hamilton’s rear wheel for most of the seven laps. In the end Jamie Hamilton crossed the line to take the chequered flag just 0.082s ahead of his team-mate. Jeremy McWilliams did, however, break the lap record en route to an impressive second place. William Davison completed the podium. The final race of the day was the second Superbike race, known as the ‘Race of Legends’. Michael Dunlop took his second victory finishing seven seconds ahead of William Dunlop with Derek Shiels in third. Guy Martin had to fight back from tenth after overshooting the chicane on the first lap and losing ground. Conor Cummins had a problem on the grid, and completed only two laps before retiring.
Fans at the meeting were treated to parade laps by Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle in their TT winning side-car. Four times world champion Tim Reeves is pushing for side-cars to feature at Armoy in the future.