Fans were treated to some close racing at last weekend’s Cookstown 100. Michael Dunlop, Dan Kneen and Derek Shiels were among the race winners.
After two brief practice sessions on the Saturday morning, the action kicked off with the first Superbike race. Derek McGee started from pole position and enjoyed a close battle with Shiels throughout the race, but it was the latter who came out on top by just seven tenths of a second. William Dunlop rounded off the podium finishers, finishing three seconds back on the top two. The top three had managed to pull away early in the race with Jamie Hamilton initially holding on, but falling back slightly to finish five seconds adrift from the podium in fourth place. Going into the weekend, BMW’s Michael Dunlop had been the favourite but the Ballymoney rider – who was nursing an injury – failed to finish the first race.
Later on in the day William Dunlop put in an impressive performance to cross the line first in the Cookstown 100, but was cruelly denied the win on corrected time with newcomer Dan Kneen beating him by mere tenths of a second. “I’m obviously disappointed to lose out on a race win that I felt I had well covered,” W Dunlop said after the race. “When you take the chequered flag you expect to be the race winner, but I’m not a bad loser and rules are rules whether you agree with them or not”. McGee finished in third place finishing ahead of the first race of the day winner, Sheils. The first Superbike B race (the second race of the day) was won by Richard McLoughlin who was another winner on corrected time. While Gareth Keys crossed the line first, he was beaten to victory by McLoughlin who started in the second group. Anthony McColgon took third. In the 19th and final race of the day, Keys tasted victory after hunting down and passing Shane Egan on the final lap to win the second Superbike B race. McColgon once again finished on the podium in third place.
In the Supersport class it was once again McGee starting from pole position, with Sheils and W Dunlop for company. It was M Dunlop who won, coming through from sixth after disappointment in both Superbike races. It had been another close fight between McGee and Sheils but it was M Dunlop who came through to win. W Dunlop finished fourth with Manxman Kneen in fifth, having started in group C, and Hamilton in sixth from the second group. The invitational Supersport race was held on the Friday evening and was won by Sheils. The Supersport B race was won by Dave Hewson who finished ahead of Shaun Anderson and Paul Jordan. Derek Costello won the Supertwin B race, beating Mark Sheils and Noel Murphy. M Dunlop qualified on pole for the Supertwin A race and went on to win it. He initially pulled away from James Cowton but the latter was able to close the deficit to finish nine tenths down at the chequered flag. Hamilton finished a further two seconds down in third place to round up the podium.
Elsewhere James Neesom (Senior Support A), Paul Swords (Senior Support B), Alistair Haworth (Junior Support A), Noel Murphy (Junior Support B), William Cowden (Moto 3), and Robert McCrum (Senior Classic) were among the other winners in their classes.