Dean Harrison dominates Spring Cup at Oliver’s Mount

Dean Harrison was the dominant rider at this year’s Bob Smith Spring Cup at Oliver’s Mount. He backed up his hat-trick at the corresponding event last year.

The Silicone Engineering rider took 7 victories over the weekend, including the feature Spring Cup race. Other race winners at the meeting included Ivan Lintin, James Cowton and Adrian Harrison.

Harrison’s first win of the day came in the Junior A race where he started from pole position and beat Daley Mathison by 5.6 seconds. Daniel Hegarty was third with Lintin fourth and Jamie Coward fifth. It was a family affair in the Junior class with Dean’s brother Adrian Harrison winning the B race. Owen Graves was second with Stephen Degnan in third. The Harrisons won the second legs of their respective races with an identical podium from race one in the A race. The second B race saw Jamie Harris and Lewis Bramwell finish second and third.

Lee Crawford and Steve Ramsden – along with their passengers – won two races apiece in the F2 Sidecars class. Crawford won the first race along with Patrick Farrance, with Conrad Harrison with Andy Winkle second, and Dean Lindley with Robert Bell third. The second race was won by Steve and Matty Ramsden with the podium finishers from race one joining them. Crawford won the third race with Jake Lowther as passenger, beating the Ramsden duo and Greg Lambert and Julie Canipa. The Ramsdens won the fourth and final race, beating Dave Wallis and Scott Hardie, and Harrison and Winkle.

There were two legs of the Super Lightweight class and these were won by James Cowton and Ivan Lintin. The first race in the class was won by Cowton who beat Barry Furber by over ten seconds. Darren Cooper, Barry Evans and Mark Purslow completed the top five. Lintin won the second leg beating Furber and Cooper by a very comfortable margin of over 20 seconds.

Harrison backed up his Junior race victories with two Open race wins. In the first leg of the A race he beat Hegarty and Lee Johnston, with Coward and Mathison finishing fourth and fifth respectively. It was the same top five in the second leg. Joe Thompson won both of the B races beating Julian Tillotson and Lewis Bramwell. In the second B race it was Bramwell in second and Harris third, with Craig Neve and Grant Gaskell fourth and fifth.

In the Senior races there were two more victories for Harrison and he was joined on the podium once again by Hegarty and Mathison. Johnston was fourth in both with Coward fifth in the first leg and Lintin fifth in the second leg. Guy Martin raced in the Senior race – having competed at Tandragee the previous day –  and he finished in 12th place.

Elsewhere in the Ultralightweight & Lightweight class, Ian Lougher and Justin Waring shared the spoils for the Ultralightweights while Thompson won both Lightweight. In the first race Lougher was joined on the Ultralightweight podium by Waring and Ian Stanford while Thompson beat Paul Owen and Alistair Haworth in the Lightweight class. In the second leg Waring moved ahead of Lougher with Stanford third. Thompson beat Phil Stead and Nicholas Anderson in the Lightweight class. David Bell, Peter Boast, and Michael Hand completed the podium for the first Classic Superbike & F2 race. Bell beat Craig Neve and Boast in the second leg.

 

Harrison wrapped up a successful meeting by winning the Spring Cup feature race, beating Hegarty and Johnston. Mathison, Coward, Lintin, Mick Goodings, and Cowton were fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Tom Weeden and Mark Goodings rounded out the top ten.

Derek Sheils and Derek McGee win at Tandragee

The 2017 Irish road racing season commenced this weekend in Tandragee.

Derek Sheils and Derek McGee were among the race winners, winning in the Open and Supersport races respectively.

Sheils won the opening race of the meeting – the Open Superbike non-championship race – from pole position on the Cookstown BE Racing Suzuki. He finished comfortably ahead of William Dunlop with McGee in third. Dunlop was racing Mar-train’s Yamaha R1 following a last minute deal with Tim Martin for the Ballymoney man. Michael Sweeney was fourth, 14 seconds further back on McGee who was 23 seconds behind the race winner. Alan Bonner, Davy Morgan, Shaun Anderson, Kevin Fitzpatrick and Andy Farrell filled positions five to nine while Richard McLoughlin was tenth. Guy Martin’s hotly anticipated return didn’t last long as he tangled with Paul Jordan early in the first lap having started 17th leading to both retiring, thankfully uninjured.

Up next was the Junior Support race which was won by Joseph Loughlin who broke the lap record on his way to a nine second victory. He beat Michael Browne and Jamie Williams with Oisin Watson fourth. Stephen Morrison finished in fifth ahead of Andy McAllister, Tony Leach, RJ Woolsey, Brian Loughlin and Vic Allan.

McGee followed up his podium in the Open race by comfortably winning the Supersport race. He finished over 16 seconds clear of Dunlop with Sheils narrowly finishing third. He beat Jordan by mere tenths of a second. Graham Kennedy was fourth ahead of Paul Williams and Michael Weldon in fifth and sixth respectively, with the latter two having started from the second group. Sean Connolly who also came from the second group,  Darryl Tweed and Paul Cranston rounded out the top ten. The rain came on before the Supersport race with riders being allowed to change tyres as conditions changed.

In the Classic race it was Barry Davidson who was victorious, although he beat Jamie O’Brien by just six tenths of a second. Nigel Moore was third ahead of Robert McCrum, Gary Jamison, Keith Clarke and Philip Shaw. Also in the top ten were Brian Mateer, Freddie Stewart, and Sean Leonard.

Adam McLean, Sam Wilson and Moore were the three podium finishers in the Moto 3/125cc class. Dean Stimpson and Neil Kernohan were fourth and fifth. In the Forgotten Era class the top three were Des Butler, O’Brien and Richard Ford with Tweed notching up a victory in the Lightweight Supersports. Seamus Elliott and Paul Gartland joined him on the podium.

The sixth race of the meeting turned out to be the last when the Senior Support class was red flagged. Loughlin was the winner ahead of Jamie Williams and Jonathan Gormley. A rider involved in the red flag incident is currently in hospital. Due to deteriorating weather conditions the Supertwins and feature Superbike race were cancelled.

Racing continues on the Irish roads next weekend at the Cookstown 100.

Five reasons to attend an Irish road race

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Cookstown 100 2015 © The H Duct
Motorbikes? Check. Public roads? Check. Sunshine? Occasional check…

Irish road racing, there’s nothing quite like it. Every year hundreds of riders turn up to compete on closed public roads north and south of the border, literally ‘between the hedges’. The Isle of Man TT may get most of the attention but there are plenty of reasons to attend an Irish national road race – at the likes of Tandragee, Cookstown, Armoy –  in 2017. Here are just five:

1) Close racing

With mass starts, and two or three groups, there are plenty of riders providing plenty of action throughout the grid. Races can be incredibly close – for example William and Michael Dunlop were separated by just 0.007s in one race at Armoy last year. Due to the different groups leaving the grid at different times, a rider from the second or third group can win the race on corrected time adding an extra level of excitement and intrigue. It’s not often you get to see bikes go wheel to wheel on narrow roads with fields on either side.

2) Full schedules

While the International races feature just the Superbike, Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin classes, National races include classics and support. This means on a race day there will be a good mixture of classes and more riders get a chance to compete. You certainly get plenty of bang for your buck – although a lot of races are free to watch. Which brings me to my next point…

3) Support local clubs

It has been well documented recently that insurance prices are significantly rising year on year meaning many clubs are struggling. A number of races have sadly been struck from the calendar because they are not financially viable to continue running. While many road races are free to attend, fans can still support clubs by buying a programme or paying to sit on the grandstands. The programmes are full of information about riders, interviews, previous results and give full itineraries of the event races and riders taking part. Supporting the clubs will help to insure more races aren’t lost in the future.

4)  Top talent

All the attention may be focused on the return of a certain truck mechanic from Grimsby, but the Irish road racing scene is frequented by a number of other talented riders throughout the year. Of course the Dunlop name is synonymous with road racing in Ireland and Michael, William, Gary and Sam are regulars at the nationals. You’ll also get to see the likes of Derek Sheils, Derek McGee, Davy Morgan, Dean Harrison, and Dan Kneen to name a few. Michal Dokoupil is a frequent visitor to the Irish nationals along with Veronika Hankocyova. Paul Jordan, Michael Sweeney, Adam McLean, James Cowton and Gareth Keys are just a few more of the riders you can see in action.

5) Get closer to the action

While health and safety may have kicked into gear, meaning some areas that were once available for viewing have become prohibited, you can still get closer to the action than you would at a circuit. Nothing prepares you for the sheer exhilaration of seeing a bike flash past you when you’re standing just at the other side of the hedge or the fence. As the races are held on closed public roads quite often the paddocks are in muddy fields or a farmyard. People help each other out and it is a real community – where else would you see a competitor help work on a fellow competitor’s bike? Irish road racing is really something else.

Road racing is currently the topic of a three part documentary by DoubleBand films on BBC Northern Ireland and it shows just what it means to those who are part of the sport – from the riders to the fans and everyone in between. There’s no sport quite like it and once you go once, you’ll be hooked. Sitting in a muddy field, getting rained on or battered by the wind is not generally my idea of fun, but throw in a few bikes and some good company and you’re in a for a good day!

TT 2017 start numbers confirmed

The start numbers for this year’s Isle of Man TT Superbike and Senior races have been confirmed, with David Johnson leading the riders away from the number one plate on the Norton.

New Zealander Bruce Anstey will leave second on his Padgetts Honda, ahead of James Hillier and Ian Hutchinson. John McGuinness moves to number five with Michael Dunlop leaving from number six on the Bennetts Suzuki ahead of Conor Cummins. Returnee Guy Martin starts eighth with Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman rounding out the top ten seeded starters.

Michael Rutter will start eleventh in front of Gary Johnson and Lee Johnston, with Dan Kneen 14th and William Dunlop 15th respectively. Josh Brookes – who is returning to the TT and riding a Norton – will start from number 16, ahead of Steve Mercer, Martin Jessopp, Dan Hegarty and Ivan Lintin.

 

 

  1. David Johnson
  2. Bruce Anstey
  3. James Hillier
  4. Ian Hutchinson
  5. John McGuinness
  6. Michael Dunlop
  7. Conor Cummins
  8. Guy Martin
  9. Dean Harrison
  10. Peter Hickman
  11. Michael Rutter
  12. Gary Johnson
  13. Lee Johnston
  14. Dan Kneen
  15. William Dunlop
  16. Josh Brookes
  17. Steve Mercer
  18. Martin Jessopp
  19. Dan Hegarty
  20. Ivan Lintin

The 2017 race fortnight kicks off with practice on 27th May with the first race scheduled for Saturday 3rd June.

Peter Hickman wins 50th running of Macau Motorcycle GP

Peter Hickman has won the 50th running of the motorcycle Macau Grand Prix. He was joined on the podium by Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp.

Last year’s pole sitter and podium finisher Jessopp once again started from pole position, joined on the front row by eight time winner Rutter and newcomer Glenn Irwin.

Rutter took the lead off the line with Irwin slotting into second place behind him. Jessopp held third at the end of the first lap with 2015 winner Peter Hickman chasing him down in fourth. Jessopp moved up to second in the second lap ahead of Irwin. Hickman, Horst Saiger, Ian Hutchinson, Conor Cummins, Gary Johnson, Stuart Easton and newcomer Derek Sheils rounded out the top ten.

Hickman made his move on lap four up into third while the top four continued to circulate separated by just over a second and a half. Jessopp took the lead on lap seven but only held it for a couple of corners before Rutter reclaimed it. The battle between the top two allowed Hickman to close up with Irwin holding on to the back of him. The lead changed hands again on lap eight.

On lap 10 Jessopp dropped from first to fourth after Bathams team-mates Rutter and Hickman pulled off a double pass. Irwin then slipped through into a podium spot as well as it looked like Jessopp missed a gear. Hickman – the only rider in the top four to be running Dunlop tyres – then took over the lead from Rutter on the penultimate lap. Jessopp moved back to third as Irwin dropped right off the pace before pulling into the pits.

Hickman held onto the lead to win the race for a second year in a row. Eight time winner Rutter was second with Jessopp third. Cummins finished fourth ahead of Saiger, Easton, John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, Derek Sheils, and Dan Cooper. Dan Kneen recovered from the back of the field to finish 11th ahead of Didier Grams, Danny Webb, Sam West, and Mark Miller. Rounding out the top 20 finishers were Daniel Hegarty, Marek Cerveny, Allan-Jon Venter, Andre Pires and Michael Sweeney. Brian McCormack and Ben Wylie also finished.

Irwin, Johnson, Lintin and Davy Morgan all retired in the pits during the race.

 

 

Michael Dunlop doubles up with Superbike win

Following his Junior race win earlier in the day, Michael Dunlop was back in the winner’s enclosure following the Superbike race at the Classic TT.

At the end of the first lap Dunlop’s lead on his Suzuki was seven seconds over Dean Harrison in second with James Hillier third. The gap increased to 10 seconds by Glen Helen on the second lap, with Harrison sitting 4.8 seconds in front of Hillier on corrected time. Dunlop’s lead increased to 13 seconds by Ballaugh, 15 seconds at Ramsey, 17 seconds at the Bungalow and 18 seconds by Cronk ny Mona. By the end of the second lap Dunlop was 18 seconds clear with Harrison eight seconds ahead of Hillier.

Dunlop pitted at the end of the second lap and broke Bruce Anstey’s Classic TT lap record of 126.261mph with 126.808mph. By the start of the third lap Dunlop’s lead was down to 2.369 seconds but increased over the course of the third and fourth laps.

The Ballymoney man’s eventual gap over the line was 15.697 seconds with Hillier 16 seconds behind Harrison in third. Michael Rutter was fourth ahead of Jamie Coward, Horst Saiger, William Dunlop and Conor Cummins. Gary Johnson and Danny Webb rounded out the top ten finishers. In 11th was Alexander Pickett – the leading privateer – with Timothee Monot 12th, Kiaran Hankin 13th, Ryan Kneen 14th and David Hewson 15th.

Several hours after the conclusion of the race a statement was released stating that “four machines have been disqualified from the final result due to technical infringements”. The four Kawasaki riders disqualified from the race were Harrison, Hillier, Coward and Saiger. This meant Rutter and William Dunlop were promoted to the podium.

Michael Dunlop adds Junior Classic race to TT win tally

After missing the Senior race on Saturday, Michael Dunlop has won the Junior race at this year’s Classic TT riding an MV Agusta.

It was a battle between Dunlop and Michael Rutter for the race victory with the former pitting while the latter did not have to. Dan Cooper was first away with Rutter leaving third and Dunlop fourth – Olie Linsdell was a non starter meaning everyone else shuffled up on.

It was Dunlop with the lead at Glen Helen by seven seconds over Rutter. Jamie Coward was third with Alan Oversby fourth and James Cowton fifth. Cowton became an early retirement, as did William Dunlop, allowing Cameron Donald to move into fifth at Ballaugh. The gap between the top two continued to rise and fall with Dunlop’s lead 10.8 at Ballaugh, 10.4 at Ramsey, 11.4 at the Bungalow, 11.9 at Cronk ny Mona and 10.9 by the end of the first lap. Coward ended lap one third ahead of Oversby, Donald, David Madsen-Mygdal, Danny Webb, Dan Cooper, Alex Sinclair and Philip McGurk.

The gap remained around 11 seconds at the start of the second lap but dropped when Dunlop slowed for the pits. Rutter started the third lap 35 seconds clear of Dunlop, with Coward 14 seconds behind the Ballymoney man in third. Dunlop didn’t hang about and closed the gap to 28 seconds at Ballaugh. It continued to drop and stood at 13 seconds at the end of the penultimate lap.

Dunlop had the lead back by Ballaugh on the following lap and it only continued to rise, finishing at 10 seconds as they crossed the line.

Elsewhere Coward retired during the third lap allowing Oversby into third. Donald finished fourth with Cooper fifth, Webb sixth, and Sinclair seventh. McGurk finished eighth with Madsen-Mygal eventually ninth and Bill Swallow tenth. Joining Coward on the sidelines were Peter Boast, James Cowton, Dean Harrison, and Alan Bud Jackson amongst others.