In part three of this review of 2013 in road racing, we look back at the Skerries, Walderstown, the Southern 100 and Armoy. The first and second parts can be found here (April and May) and here (June).
Following races on the Isle of Man, it was back to Ireland – Dublin in particular – for the Skerries 100. The meeting was once again dominated by a familiar name – Dunlop – with the brothers winning four races between them. William Dunlop won the 250cc event, beating Davy Morgan and Michael Sweeney. He was also victorious in the Supersport race, edging his brother by 0.5s, who in turn finished ahead of Derek McGee.
There was further success for Jamie Hamilton in the Supertwins class as he led from start to finish, not without pressure from second placed Michael Sweeney, however. Michael Dunlop took double success in the Superbikes, beating Derek Sheils in both races, and riding his own MD Racing Honda Fireblade. He trailed Sheils for four laps in the ‘Grand Final’ but eventually overtook him and beat him by a comfortable 2.5s with a new 110.373mph lap record.
Seamus Elliot won the Moto3 race ahead of Bruce Moulds and Nigel Moore. It was sadly to be Moulds’ last Irish road racing podium before his tragic death at Walderstown just over a week later. Mark Hanna was victorious in the Junior Support race, beating Connor Behan and Shane Egan. Egan went on to win the Senior Support race, beating Behan and James Kelly.
In the Superbike ‘B’ race, Czech Republic rider Michal Dokoupil finished ahead of David Coughlan and Paul Barron. Barry Davidson beat Sean Leonard in the Junior Classic (with Allan Brew third) while Robert McCrum won the Senior Classic, beating John Scott and Brew.
A return to the Isle of Man was on the cards for many riders as they took part in the Southern 100. The event was marred by the tragic death of three riders – Sidecar passenger Paul Thomas, Mark Madsen-Mygdal and David Dukes. M Dunlop returned to winning ways with a victory over Dean Harrison and Guy Martin in the Supersport class. It was a similar podium in the Senior race, but this time with Martin ahead of Harrison but still with Dunlop winning. Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle took another win in the Sidecars, this time beating the Gary Bryan & Jamie Winn partnership. They won again the Sidecar Championship race, beating the Birchall brothers.
Hamilton won the first Supertwins race, with Harrison securing another second place. James Cowton finished in third. Harrison eventually got a win in the Supersport class, beating Martin and M Dunlop. He won again in the second Supertwins race, with Lintin second and Hamilton third. Callum Collister won the 125/400cc race beating Alistair Haworth and Ian Lougher.
Martin took a narrow victory in the Solo Championship race, crossing the line just 0.454 seconds ahead of rival M Dunlop. Harrison racked up another podium finish in third. It was the first time this particular race had been won by Martin since 2009.
While some competed at the Southern 100, others raced at Walderstown. There were victories once again for Elliott and Hanna in the Moto3 and Junior Support races. Egan won the Senior Support race, ahead of Hanna and Gavin Lupton. Elsewhere it was more of the same in the other classes with Hamilton winning the Supertwins race, ahead of Sweeney and Hanna. McGee won the the Supersport race, ahead of Hamilton and W Dunlop.
W Dunlop himself was victorious in both the Superbike races, beating McGee in one and Sheils in the other. Sheils finished third in the first Superbike race and that position was filled by Pearson in the second. Dunlop took victory in the 250cc class as well, making him the most successful rider at the circuit with 11 wins to his name.
Before Armoy, Dean Harrison and Jamie Hamilton dominated at the Cock O’ The North races in Scarborough. Harrison took six race victories, while Hamilton won one. Hamilton finished second to Harrison five races.
At the end of July, the Dunlop brothers returned to their neck of the woods for the Armoy Road Races. It was an action packed programme, celebrating the fifth edition of the event. It also gave racing fans their first glimpse of Sidecars on the circuit as TT champions Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle took part in a couple of parade laps. Saturday was a bright and sunny day and featured 11 races. Christian Elkin was the first winner of the day, as he won the 125cc race ahead of Sam Dunlop and Sam Wilson. Mark Hanna won the Junior Support race ahead of Connor Behan and Shane Egan. Behan was the winner of the Senior Support class, beating Hanna and Egan.
In the first ‘big’ race of the day, there was fierce competition between Michael and William Dunlop, Guy Martin and Jamie Hamilton, for the Supersport victory. M Dunlop started the race from pole position but Martin got a better start and led the first lap, leading Hamilton who impressively moved into second place on his KMR Kawasaki. It was W Dunlop who eventually won, however, finishing ahead of his brother and Martin, with Hamilton having to settle for fourth. There was drama in the Junior Classic race as Kevin Strowger struggled to get away on the warm-up lap. Having originally started on the front row, he dropped way down and only just made it round the track to start at the back of the third group. He eventually finished third in the race on corrected time, the first rider on a 250cc. Barry Davidson won the race, remaining unbeaten in the 350cc class, with Sean Leonard in second. Robert McCrum won the Senior Classic Class, by an impressive 19 seconds, beating Richard Ford and John Scott.
M Dunlop beat Martin once again in the Superbike race, with Derek Sheils in third. There was another victory for M Dunlop in the Race of Legends and this time he finished ahead of his brother, W Dunlop, and Sheils again. Martin had to recover from tenth place after overshooting the chicane at the start of the first lap and he eventually recovered to fourth. W Dunlop won the 250cc class ahead of Wilson and Michael Sweeney. The 400cc class was won by Andy Farrell, who finished ahead of Gavin Lupton and Vic Allan. They were joined in the race by the Moto 450 class which was won by Seamus Elliott.
Hamilton, who was unbeaten in the Supertwins class in the Irish Championship, added yet another victory to his collection, although not without a fight from team-mate Jeremy McWilliams. The pair were separated by just two seconds in qualifying and, while Hamilton led the race, he couldn’t shake McWilliams off. In the end he claimed victory by just 0.082s! William Davison completed the podium.
Following the month of July, Michael Dunlop remained at the front of the Duke Road Racing Rankings with 1713 points. Jamie Hamilton returned to second with 1477 points while Dean Harrison dropped to third with 1342 points. William Dunlop (1052), Guy Martin (947), and James Cowton (724) remained in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Derek Sheils moved up to seventh with 522 points and Connor Behan moved up to eighth with 521 points. Michael Pearson dropped one spot to ninth (514) while Gavin Lupton rounded out the top ten with 506 points.
Coming up in part three: August and September – Mid-Antrim, Ulster Grand Prix, Classic TT and Killalane.