Derek Sheils doubles up at Faugheen 50 road races

Derek Sheils took two wins at the weekend at the Faugheen 50 road races in Co. Tipperary.

Following a narrow victory for Brian McCormack in the Open Non Championship race, Sheils took the win in both the Open Championship race and the Grand Final. McCormack beat Derek McGee by just a hundredth of a second in the non championship race with William Dunlop taking third, just eight tenths back. Dunlop broke the lap record on the way to his podium. John Walsh and Seamus Elliott completed the top five.

Sheils won the Open Champonship race by two tenths from McGee with Dunlop once again completing the podium. It was McGee who won the Supertwins race, taking a commanding eight second victory over Paul Jordan with Michal Dokoupil in third. This was following his first International victory in the same class at the Ulster Grand Prix. John Horgan finished in fourth with Mark Sheils coming home in fifth. In the Supersport class it was another victory for Dunlop on his CD Racing Yamaha, meaning his maintained his 100% record in the class at Irish Nationals this year. He beat McGee by three seconds with Walsh in third, McCormack fourth and Thomas Maxwell in fifth.

Jordan beat Nigel Moore and Paul Robinson to victory in the 125cc – Moto 3 race while Brian Coomey won both 201cc – 400cc races. In both races he was joined on the podium by John Horgan and Brendan Glover. The Senior Support Non Championship race was won by Dean Campbell, who beat Steve Tobin and Daryl Tweed while Tobin beat Tweed and Stephen Casey in the Championship race. Neil Kernohan, Elliott, and Dokoupil filled the podium positions in Junior Support.

In the Classics it was another victory for Robert McCrum in the 250 – 350cc class, beating Ed Manly by over 24 seconds with Sean Leonard in third. He also won the 500 – 1000cc Classic race by a narrower margin of 16 seconds over Richard Ford with Manly in third.

In the Grand Final Sheils crossed the line marginally ahead of McGee with McCormack coming home third after holding off Dunlop who finished fourth. Walsh rounded out the top five finishers.

Next up on the road racing calendar are the Classic TT and Manx GP which is due to start later this week. The final Irish National road race of the year is Killalane which takes place on the first weekend in September.

Lee Johnston the new ‘General’ of Dundrod

Lee Johnston was the Man of the Meeting at last weekend’s Ulster Grand Prix after winning three races.

Johnston – who is known as General Lee – took victories in the Superstock class as well as both Supersport races, his first wins at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Bruce Anstey had taken the win in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race after battling with Guy Martin, who crashed out and was forced to withdraw from the remainder of the event. The fan favourite sustained a number of fractures including to his hand and several vertebrae.

First up on the order on Saturday – which started off a clear and dry day – was the Superstock race. Keith Amor was promoted to pole position but lost out at the start. It was Johnston who went on to win but not without a close battle with Peter Hickman who had taken the early lead. The race ran to the line and the pair were separated by just 0.090s with Michael Dunlop finishing in third place. He finished ten seconds clear of brother William with Amor rounding out the top five.

Next up was the Supersport race and it was another close fought affair. William Dunlop lead for most of the race but was pipped to the line by on form man Johnston. Their gap was just three hundredths of a second with Glenn Irwin in third on his second visit to the Dundrod circuit.  Anstey narrowly missed out on a podium while Ian Hutchinson finished in fifth place after a disappointing retirement in the opening race of the day. Following the Supersport machines it was time for the combined Ultra Lightweight and Lightweight classes. Sam Wilson was the victor in the Lightweight class finishing ahead of Neil Kernohan and James Cowton. Paul Owen was fourth with Michal Dokoupil in fifth place. Christian Elkin was the clear winner in the Ultra Lightweight class. The Moto 3 rider had had an accident on Thursday during a Supertwin practice session but was soon back in action. He was nearly half a minute clear of Connor Behan who finished second, with Nigel Moore in third.

There was controversy in the first Superbike race as it was red flagged on the sixth lap. Due to the rules, which specify that if a race is red flagged then it will be counted back to the last fully completed lap, Anstey was declared the winner despite Hutchinson leading on the road. He later revealed that he had been racing a strategic race – making sure he was leading at two thirds race distance should the race be red flagged. The PBM team planned to appeal the result but it stood with Anstey as the winner with Hutchinson second and Johnston third. Hickman, Conor Cummins and William Dunlop completed the top six.

The second Supersport race was also red flagged due to a fatal accident involving Scottish rider Andy Lawson. Johnston took the victory with Irwin second and Hutchinson third. Dean Harrison took fourth place with William Dunlop fifth and Anstey sixth. Following a lengthy delay as the race directors consulted with Andy Lawson’s family – who wished for the event to continue – the Supertwin class got out on track, albeit in tricky conditions as the rain had set in. Derek McGee held off Cowton throughout the four lap race with Dan Cooper taking his first International podium in third. He and Irwin had circulated closely on track but it was Cooper who was ahead when it counted – as they crossed the line.

It was a depleted grid for the seventh and final race of the day – the second Superbike race. It was another close fought affair as Cummins worked his way through the top five to finish just two hundredths of a second off Hickman. It was Hickman’s first International victory. Michael Dunlop finished off a fairly anonymous day with a third place finish. Amor took fourth ahead of Russ Mountford and Dan Kneen.

Man of the Meeting Johnston was just one of the riders who chose to sit the race out – the list also included Anstey. Horst Saiger was awarded the Best Newcomer award. Next up on the road racing calendar is Faugheen this weekend.

Bruce Anstey wins Dundrod 150 Superbike race

Bruce Anstey was declared the winner in a red flagged Dundrod 150 Superbike race, following a difficult day at the event.

A number of red flags throughout the morning practice sessions resulted in just one race of a five race programme running. After practice was called off on Wednesday due to poor visibility Thursday morning Ulster Grand Prix qualifying sessions were used for the Dundrod 150 meeting as well.

The first race of the afternoon – the Ultra Lightweight/Lightweight class – was red flagged on the first lap and eventually postponed. The schedule had already been rearranged, bringing the Superbike race to run second. Guy Martin had qualified on pole position ahead of Anstey, Ian Hutchinson, Peter Hickman, Lee Johnston, and William Dunlop.

Hutchinson took the lead at the start of the race but he soon became one of the retirements from the race along with Michael Dunlop and Johnston. It turned into a two horse race between Martin and Anstey, with the former holding a narrow advantage over the latter for most of the race. Anstey closed the gap to the Tyco BMW rider to just a tenth of a second as they headed into the closing stages of the race. The race was red flagged on the last lap of the race and it was soon revealed that Martin had come off his bike following a highside. The Tyco team tweeted that their rider was a bit banged up but had nothing broken.

Conor Cummins came home in second place ahead of Hickman and Dan Kneen on the second Valvoline by Padgetts Honda. Keith Amor finished in fifth ahead of William Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Ivan Lintin, Russ Mountford and Seamus Elliott, who came from the second group.

The rest of the Dundrod 150 racing was unfortunately cancelled. Racing is set to continue on Saturday for the Ulster Grand Prix.

2015: Ulster Grand Prix Preview

The world’s finest road racers are about to take to the track for the world’s fastest road race, with the start of the Ulster Grand Prix race week just days away.

Lap record holder Bruce Anstey will be joined by Ian Hutchinson, William and Michael Dunlop, and Guy Martin. Along with the likes of Keith Amor, Conor Cummins, Dean Harrison, Lee Johnston, Dan Kneen, Ivan Lintin, Peter Hickman, and Glenn Irwin it is a stellar line-up set to compete at the third International road racing event of the year.

Bike Week runs from 3rd – 8th August, with practice and racing taking place on the Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. A host of events are planned for the week and a programme of the schedule can be found on the Ulster Grand Prix official website. Practice sessions will take place on the Wednesday, with roads due to close at 12pm, with Dundrod 150 races taking place on Thursday along with further practice for the Ulster Grand Prix. Racing for the main event will take place on the Saturday. Roads are due to close at 10.30am on Thursday, opening again by 9.30pm while they will close at 8.30am on Saturday morning.

Last year Bruce Anstey was named Man of the Meeting, taking wins in both the Supersport and Superbike classes. There were difficult conditions on the Saturday and a number of red flags but there was some close racing including a 0.001 second victory for Dan Kneen over Dean Harrison in the Superstock race.  Anstey and Guy Martin went wheel to wheel in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race and the corresponding race in the Ulster Grand Prix. Martin took the laurels in the Dundrod 150 race, beating Anstey and Michael Dunlop, while Anstey overtook the Tyco Suzuki rider on the last lap of the Superbike race on Saturday. Lee Johnston finished in third place. The feature race and one of the Supersport races were later abandoned due to deteriorating weather conditions.

The most recent Irish National Road Race was at Armoy last weekend, where Michael and William Dunlop were amongst the race winners. Guy Martin was also in strong form, winning the first Superbike race ahead of his team-mate. Martin is the most successful current rider at the Ulster Grand Prix and he is one of the favourites to add further wins to his tally. There has been plenty of national action since the last international road race – the Isle of Man TT in June – as well as the Southern 100. At the North West 200 in May it may have been Alistair Seeley monopolising the top step of the podium, but riders including Lee Johnston and Glenn Irwin put in strong performances and they will be ones to watch this coming week. Irwin made his Ulster Grand Prix debut last year and this year will see him with John Burrows BE Racing team on the Supertwin. He is standing in for Jamie Hamilton who was seriously injured in an accident at the TT but is recovering well. Ian Hutchinson was back to winning ways at the TT – securing a hat-trick of victories – and he will no doubt be hoping to continue his strong form into the Ulster. Bruce Anstey can never be discounted as his impressive record of a podium finish at every North West 200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix since his 2002 proves. Another one to watch will be Peter Hickman who made his debut last year and completed a 131mph lap of the Dundrod circuit.

This year the Ulster Grand Prix has launched an app in association with FanZone which includes features such as allowing fans to arrange car shares and travel arrangements for the week. The app is available to download for free on both iOS and Android.

Wristbands for the week cost £25 and can be purchased from Lidl stores and road ends at the circuit, amongst other places.

Dunlop brothers win at Armoy Road Races

Michael Dunlop was the victorious rider in the feature race at last weekend’s Armoy Road Races.

Dunlop beat Guy Martin in the Race of Legends Grand Final, crossing the line over two seconds clear of the Tyco BMW rider. Dean Harrison rounded off a successful weekend with third place ahead of William Dunlop, Derek McGee, Seamus Elliott, – making his Wilson Craig debut – Andy Lawson, John Walsh, Davy Morgan and Thomas Maxwell.

Earlier in the day Martin had led home a Tyco BMW 1-2 in the first Superbike race, finishing ahead of team-mate William Dunlop, with Derek Sheils in third. Michael Dunlop was fourth ahead of Harrison, Ryan Farquhar and Lawson, who was the leader from the second group. Morgan was eighth ahead of Walsh and Maxwell. Martin also set the fastest lap of the race on his way to the victory.

Racing had commenced on Friday evening with William Dunlop winning the Supersport race by nearly 3.5 seconds from Martin. Dunlop was on his CD Racing Yamaha while Martin was racing a Tyco Suzuki. Harrison finished third ahead of a returning Keith Amor. McGee finished in fifth place with Sheils in sixth and Elliott seventh. Lawson and James Cowton came from the second group to finish eighth and ninth respectively, in front of lead group rider Billy Redmayne. The second Supersport race was run on Saturday and was once again won by Dunlop, again ahead of Martin and Harrison. The latter two on the podium were separated by just 0.034s as they crossed the line. The rest of the top ten was completed by McGee, Sheils, Elliott, Lawson, Redmayne, Connor Behan, and Christian Elkin.

Farquhar beat McGee to victory in the Supertwins race on Saturday with Behan crossing the line in third. Cowton finished ahead of Elkin, Paul Jordan, Lawson, Michal Dokoupil, Andy Farrell, and Darren James. Martin had been due to race in the Supertwins class, riding Jamie Hamilton’s BE Racing bike but he encountered problems on Friday.

Elsewhere Jordan took victory in the Moto 3/125cc race beating Sam Wilson and Nigel Moore. Adam McLean, Sam Dunlop, James Kelly, Neil Kernohan, Sean Leonard, Derek Clark, and Craig Gibson were the other top ten finishers. Wilson won the 250cc race ahead of Michael Dunlop and Paul Robinson. Dunlop was standing in for Michael Sweeney on the BE Racing bike. Stephen Davison won the Non-Qualifiers race.

Junior Support was won by McLean who beat Brian Coomey and Timothy Elwood, while Kevin Fitzpatrick beat Ryan Maher and Dean Campbell in Senior Support. Barry Davidson added another win in the 250cc/350cc Classic class to his tally, beating Mark Johnson and George Stinson. The 500cc/1000cc Classic race was won by Richard Ford who finished ahead of Freddie Stewart and Billy Lyle.

There was a lengthy delay following a red flag in the 400cc race, which was won by Dokoupil. Local rider Ian Simpson was airlifted to hospital where he is said to be in a stable condition. The race was red flagged following five racing laps and the results were declared from the end of the fourth lap which was Elliott in second and David Howard finishing third.

Attention now turns to the Ulster Grand Prix with bike week kicking off on Monday.

Two for Dean Harrison at truncated Cock O’the North races in Scarborough

Dean Harrison was victorious in two races at last weekend’s Cock O’The North race meeting at the Oliver’s Mount circuit in Scarborough.

The event already had racing compressed to one day to road closure restrictions and had been due to feature 12 races but only five took place following a huge oil spill in the Sidecar race.

First up were the Lightweights and Super Lightweights. Ivan Lintin took victory in the Lightweight class, beating James Cowton and Jamie Coward – a replication of the podium in the same class at last week’s Southern 100. Alistair Haworth took a commanding win in the Super Lightweight class, finishing over 30 seconds clear of Daniel Frear with Tony Flinton in third. In what was supposed to be the first leg of the Senior class Harrison was victorious, beating Lintin and Lee Johnston. Daley Mathison was fourth ahead of Cowton, Mick Goodings, Mark Goodings, Darren Cooper, Dave Hewson, and Julian Tillotson. Harrison doubled up with a win in the Supersport class as well, this time beating Johnston and Tom Weeden.

In the Classic F1 & F2 race Coward won the F1 class ahead of David Bell with Paul Coward in third. Paul Owen won the F2 class beating Rhys Hardistry and Phil Holmes. In the final race of the day, which resulted in the oil spill, Ian and Carl Bell won the Sidecars ahead of Conrad Harrison with passenger Lee Patterson. Dean Lindley and Rob Bell completed the rostrum positions.

The oil spill proved to be too big to clean up and with rider safety a paramount, the rest of the days racing was called off.

William Dunlop doubles up at Walderstown

William Dunlop took two wins at the weekend when he won both the Supersport and Grand Final races at Walderstown.

In the Supersport race Dunlop beat Seamus Elliott – who won the corresponding race at last week’s Southern 100 – by just over two seconds, with Derek McGee coming home in third. Derek Sheils was fourth ahead of Connor Behan, John Walsh, Andy Farrell, Graham Kennedy, Thomas Maxwell, and Ryan Maher.

It was McGee who took victory in the Supertwins race by nine hundredths of a second over Behan. Farrell took third ahead of Maria Costello, Alan Kenny, David Lumsden, Mark Sheils, Paul Gartland, James Chawke and Noel Bertram. Sean Connolly won the non championship Supertwins race, beating Martin Currams and Donnchadh Healy to the chequered flag. Elsewhere David Howard won the 400cc Championship race ahead of Elliott and Gartland. Howard’s winning advantage was three tenths of a second.

Brian Coomey won the 201cc-400cc Non Championship race ahead of Chawke and Bertram while Martin Currams won the B race. Healy was second and Thomas McEvoy came home in third. Kevin Fitzpatrick took victory in the Senior Support championship race beating Seanie Smith and Dean Campbell. Fitzpatrick also won the B race this time beating Timmy Elwood and Dean Campbell. Barry Davidson secured the win in the 250cc – 350cc Classic race by over seven seconds from Sean Leonard and Herbie Ronan. Robert McCrum won the 500cc – 1000cc Classic race, beating Freddie Stewart and Allan Brew.

In the Open Championship race it was Sheils who beat McGee and Dunlop to victory. The top three were separated by just over three seconds and it was Dunlop who set the fastest lap of the race on the fourth tour. Kenny was fourth ahead of Walsh, Brian McCormack, Elliott, Behan, Kennedy, and Maxwell. Following his win in the Supersport class, Dunlop doubled up by winning the Grand Final – his first ‘big bike’ victory since the Tandragee 100 for Tyco BMW.  It was a close fought affair as the top three – completed by McGee and Sheils – were separated by just six tenths of a second. McCormack was in fourth place 15 seconds down on the top three, with Walsh, Kenny, and Elliott who were fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Behan came home in eighth ahead of Kennedy and Maxwell.