Local riders Michael and William Dunlop were amongst the race winners at last weekend’s Armoy road races.
Racing was held largely in the dry and it didn’t disappoint the thousands of fans around the circuit. Following qualifying on Friday, the first race of the meeting was held and it saw the Dunlop brothers go wheel to wheel in a thrilling battle.
It was William Dunlop who took the lead early on. Michael Dunlop found his way past Sheils and Dan Kneen to finish just 0.007s behind William as they crossed the line. Sheils was just 1.7 seconds back in third, ahead of Kneen, Christian Elkin, Michael Sweeney and Michal Dokoupil.
That was all the racing action for the first day and the rest continued on Saturday following a parade lap.
First up on the order was Junior Support, a race won by James Chawke. He finished 2.443 seconds clear of Brad Vicars with Philip Crosbie in third. Veronika Hankocyova was fourth ahead of Andrew McMullan and Ian Simpson.
Christian Elkin was the clear winner in the Moto 3/125cc GP race, the leading Moto 3 rider home over 125cc racer Sam Wilson. Paul Jordan finished in third ahead of Adam McLean and Neil Kernohan. Justin Waring was sixth ahead of Darryl Tweed – who returned following an accident on Friday – and Gary Dunlop on his Armoy debut.
In the second Supersport race William enjoyed a comfortable win over Sheils and Sweeney. Third, fourth, and fifth were separated by just eight tenths of a second with Jordan and Elkin missing out on a podium finish. Michael failed to start the race.
While William was on top in the Supersport classes, it was Michael Dunlop who led the way in both Superbike races. The first was a close affair won by 1.655 seconds with Sheils in second, and William in third. Kneen was fourth with McGee fifth, Sweeney sixth and Dokoupil seventh. In the Race of Legends the first attempt was red flagged following a non serious incident involving Dokoupil. The break allowed William Dunlop to fix a problem with his radiator and he made the restart having failed to start the original race. It was Michael Dunlop who won – this time by 4.5 seconds – ahead of Sheils and William.
The Supertwins provided the best entertainment of the day, with any one of five or six riders in contention to take the race win over the seven laps of the race. The lead changed hands a number of times and the top five were separated by mere tenths of a second for most of the race. In the end it was James Cowton who narrowly beat Sweeney by 0.091 seconds. Elkin was a tenth off the leader in third, with Jordan fourth and McLean fifth.
Kernohan won the 250cc Lightweight 400/450 race by 18 seconds over Davy Morgan. Morgan came from the back of the third group to finish an impressive second – particularly after the disappointment of having the bike seize on him during practice. Paul Robinson was third in class. Dokoupil was the leading 400cc rider home ahead of Tweed and David Howard.
The first race in the Senior Support class was hampered by three red flags – twice for riders coming off at the chicane. They were all uninjured but the third attempt was red flagged due to there still being marshals in the fields cleaning up after the second incident. When the race eventually went the full distance it was Brad Vicars who won, beating Tommy Henry and Stephen Casey. In the Classic race Barry Davidson beat Ed Manly and George Stinson. Davidson set a new lap record on the way to a three second victory.
William Dunlop picked up the Man of the Meeting award while Malachi Mitchell-Thomas was posthumously confirmed as Ulster Supertwin champion.