Dan Kneen, William Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar were amongst the winners at this weekend’s Tandragee 100. The race meeting was overshadowed by the tragic death of Junior Support rider Noel Murphy. The Lusk rider died during the second race of the day but the scheduled races continued at the request of his father.
The first race of the meeting – the Superbike class – was held on the Friday and won by newcomer Kneen. Following his win from the second group in the Cookstown 100 feature race a week ago, the Manxman started from fourth and went on to finish the race nine tenths clear of Derek McGee in second while Jamie Hamilton finished in third. The race was run over two laps following an accident involving Jamie Coward. The rider was transferred to hospital although his injuries were not thought to be life threatening. He then went on to win the second Superbike race, held on the Saturday, which was run over three laps. This time, however, it was a much smaller grid as a number of riders chose to sit out following the fatal accident. Kneen was joined on the podium by Shaun Anderson and Davy Morgan. The first race of the day on Saturday was the Supersport class and this was won by Dunlop who finished just a tenth clear of Keith Amor. Derek McGee took the third and final podium spot, finishing over 20 seconds clear of Connor Behan in fourth. On his way to the win, Dunlop also set the fastest lap.
The Junior Support class, although tainted by the death of Noel Murphy, was won by Derek Costello. Tommy Henry and Mick Jordan were also on the podium. Tom Robinson, Neil Lyons and Rodney Little completed the podium in the Senior Support class. In the Moto 3/125cc GP race, which was run with the Supersport 400 and Moto 450 classes, Paul Robinson was victorious finishing ahead of Paul Jordan and Nigel Moore. Anthony McColgon won the Supersport 400 class while Paul Maguire and Brian Loughlin also finished on the podium. Ryan Farquhar was the only entrant for the Moto 450 class. In another depleted grid, Michael Sweeney took the win in the 250cc class, finishing ahead of John Ella and Sam Dunlop. Connor Behan won in the Supertwins race with Stephen McKnight and Ian Morrell finishing second and third respectively. Robinson and Kneen finished fourth in their respective classes, the only other entrants in the races.
There was history made when Farquhar won the Classic race – on a Paton – as the result subsequently brought his Irish national road race victory tally to 200. He finished the race 23 seconds clear of Robert McCrum, who finished second, who in turn was well clear of Gary Jamison.
Next week riders will head to the North Coast for the first International road race of the year – the Vauxhaull International North West 200.
I would like to extend my sympathy to the family and friends of Noel Murphy. Also wishing Jamie Coward a speedy recovery.