Michael Dunlop has ended the Irish road racing season as he started it – by standing on the top step of the podium. Having won the Supersport race at the Cookstown 100, Dunlop has had another successful season on the roads and ended it by winning the Grand Final race at the 30th anniversary Killalane road races.
Dunlop – who was a late entry to the event – fought his way from qualifying 14th – to finish 2.7 seconds clear of Wilson Craig rider Jamie Hamilton who was making his competitive return on the Irish road racing circuit after a crash at the Skerries back in July. In third place was Michael Sweeney who cemented his earlier victories with another podium.
Sweeney won the 250/400cc race earlier in the day, beating Seamus Elliott and Paul Robinson. Robinson then went on to win the 125cc/Moto 3 race, narrowly beating cousin Sam Dunlop by six tenths of a second after the race was declared due to a red flag. Third placed Nigel Moore was just four tenths back on that, making it just a second separating the top three. Sweeney won again, this time in the Supertwins, after going head-to-head with Derek McGee. The margin was just two tenths as they crossed the line at the end of the race. Hamilton was 14 seconds back on the duo in third place. Both Sweeney and McGee had turns in the lead but a crucial mistake by McGee in the closing stages gave Sweeney a narrow victory. The Supersport race was interrupted by two red flags but when it eventually got going properly it was McGee who stood on the top step of the podium, beating Hamilton by six tenths and Derek Sheils four seconds back. The day’s racing was interspersed with red flag incidents and the Open race was eventually abandoned due to being red flagged twice.
Elsewhere William Hara beat Sean Connolly and Melvin Hollingsworth in the 201-400cc race while Robert McCrum added another Junior Classic victory to his tally while Dunlop won the Senior classic race. The meeting also marked the retirement of Dr Fred McSorely MBE who has worked as one of the ‘travelling doctors’ at road races in Ireland for a number of years. He – along with Dr John Hinds – is one of the first people on the scene of an incident and attends to the injured.