Farquhar, Kneen and Dunlop amongst Tandragee winners

Ryan Farquhar, Dan Kneen, and William Dunlop were amongst the winners at last weekend’s Tandragee 100.

Kneen – making his debut for Mar-Train racing – won the first race but subsequently received a 60 second penalty for a jump start. Derek Sheils was also penalised, dropping the duo down the order to tenth and eleventh respectively. This meant that Farquhar was named the winner with Dunlop second and Malachi Mitchell-Thomas continuing his Mid-Antrim form in third. The Mar-Train team has since launched an appeal against the penalty for  Kneen. Finishing thirteenth in the race was Gareth Keys, coming from the second group on his return to road racing following an accident at last year’s Spring Cup in Scarborough.

In the three lapper Junior Support race – which was red flagged and results declared – it was James Chawke winning ahead of Scott Miller and Warren Reeve. In the later Senior Support race Joe Newbould was the winner with Michael Weldon second and Paul Williams in third.

It was Mitchell-Thomas who led the early stages of the Supersport race but he had to settle for third in the end. Dunlop continued his strong form from last season to take his first win of the year on his CD/IC Racing Yamaha. Kneen was second ahead of the aforementioned Mitchell-Thomas. Michal Dokoupil finished a fine seventh on his Tandragee debut.

In the Classics Jamie O’Brien led home Mark Parrett and John Pemberton. Rhys Hardistry was the lead 250cc GP rider, finishing narrowly ahead of Davy Morgan who in turn was clear of Neil Kernohan. Anthony McColgan was victorious in the Forgotten Era class, besting Robert McCrum, Des Buttler and Gary Miller.

Sam Wilson won the 125cc class ahead of Adam McLean and Paul Robinson, with Dokoupil winning in Supersport 400s. He finished seven seconds clear of Seamus Elliott and Darryl Tweed. Farquhar was the lead rider of two in the 450cc class – Dave Walsh was the second.

For the final race of the day – the feature Around a Pound Tandragee 100 – Kneen put the disappointment of the first race behind him to win. He finished ahead of Sheils, who had also been penalised in race one. Mitchell-Thomas joined his BE Racing team-mate on the podium. Derek McGee finished the race in fourth ahead of Dunlop in fifth. Farquhar, Michael Sweeney, Paul Jordan, Morgan, and  Elliott rounded out the top ten finishers.

The next action on the Irish roads is this weekend’s Cookstown 100.

Dean Harrison takes hat-trick of victories at Scarborough

Dean Harrison got his road racing season off to a positive start with three wins at the Oliver’s Mount Spring Cup in Scarborough.

The Silicone Engineering rider was victorious in the first leg of the Senior race before also winning the second leg of the same event and the Junior A race.

It was Daley Mathison who took the first win of the event, beating Harrison by just over eight and a half seconds with Lee Johnston in third in the first leg of the Junior A race. The first race of the Junior B race was won by Mike Norbury with Dean’s brother Adrian Harrison in second and Chris Cook in third.

Ivan Lintin won the Super Lightweight event ahead of Jamie Coward and Bradley Vicars with Ian Lougher winning the Ultra Lightweight class. Justin Waring joined Lougher on the podium along with Joe Thompson. Paul Owen was the winner in the Lightweight class beating Lougher and Jay Bellers-Smith.

In the first leg of the Senior Harrison notched up his first win of the event, narrowly beating Mathison and Daniel Hegarty. He also won the second leg this time ahead of Lintin and Hegarty. The podium trio in the second leg of the Junior A race were Harrison, Lintin and Johnston.

Elsewhere Steve Mercer started his year with a win in the Classic F1 class with Ian and Carl Bell winning both Sidecar races.

The feature race was red flagged following an incident involving Johnston who was taken to hospital as a precaution. The second running of the race was also red flagged, this time with much more serious consequences. Billy Redmayne was taken to hospital where he later sadly succumbed  to his injuries. Dave Hewson – the other rider involved – returned to the paddock. There are now plans to run the feature race at the Cock O’The North meeting at Scarborough.

 

Malachi Mitchell Thomas shines on Mid-Antrim debut

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas took a hatrick of victories at last weekend’s Mid-Antrim 150, the first race of the Irish road racing season.

The 2015 Manx Grand Prix winner was making his debut on Irish roads and certainly made sure that he made an impact. Riding for John Burrows’ Cookstown BE Racing team Mitchell Thomas took victories in the Supersport and Superbike classes at the Clough circuit.

Conditions were tricky on Friday but race organisers got the first Supersport race out and Mitchell Thomas led all four laps on his way to win number one of the meeting. He beat Michael Sweeney by just over five seconds, with Colin Stephenson completing the podium positions. A drier day greeted competitors and fans on Saturday allowing a full programme of racing to be completed.

In the Open race – a five lapper – Mitchell Thomas look a narrow eight tenths victory over fellow Cookstown BE Racing rider Derek Sheils. It was an impressive victory with the former on a Superstock machine while the latter raced the Superbike. Sweeney was once again on the podium, finishing ahead of Ryan Farquhar who struggled with wet tyres on a drying track. Mitchell Thomas completed his trio of victories with another win in the Supersport class, this time beating Sweeney again but joined on the podium by Paul Jordan.

Farquhar got the upper hand in the Supertwins race although only just, with Mitchell Thomas just seven hundredths back in second. It was another podium for Sweeney with Michal Dokoupil in fourth place. In the final race of the day – the Grand Final – there was a duel between the two Cookstown BE Racing bikes but it was Sheils who came out on top. The duo were joined on the podium by Sweeney – his fifth podium of the event.

Elsewhere Marc Ironside won the Junior Support class from Kris Duncan and Robert Cairns while Kris Duncan took the Senior Support win. Joining Duncan on the podium were Allan Brodie and Sean Seddon. The Junior Classic race was won by Barry Davidson, storming to a dominating 48 second victory over Freddie Stewart and Philip Shaw. It was a continuation of last year’s form for Davidson, having won five of the five Irish championship races he took part in 2015. The Senior Classic race – which featured just six riders – was won by Allan Brew, beating Gary Jamison and Freddie Stewart.

The next Irish road racing event is the Tandragee 100 on the 22nd & 23rd April. The Spring Cup in Scarborough takes place the weekend before that.

Superpole qualifying for Ulster Grand Prix

Ulster Grand Prix race organisers have announced that they will introduce a Superpole session for 2016 in the Superbike class.

Following the news that road closures will be extended this year, there will be a new session added to the order on Thursday.  The fastest 12 riders in the Superbike practice session will return to the grid later that day for a special timed event. Outside of the top 12, riders will start from 13th onwards based on their qualifying practice times.

“I’ve wanted to introduce a Superpole session at the Ulster for a while,” Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston revealed. “Now that we’ve reshuffled our practice timings we are able to accommodate it. The session will consist of one individual warm up lap immediately followed by two individual laps for each of the top 12 Superbike riders, allowing them an opportunity to secure their eventual grid position on a fair basis. It’s an added bonus for the spectators too, as each rider will attempt their fastest lap on a clear track, without obstacles or direct competition.”

 

“It’s a bit of a shake up for us but I believe it will be extremely well received for the roads,” he continued. “We’re looking forward to what will surely be an electric qualifier. The thought of watching Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, hopefully Guy Martin and some of the other big names out on track, on their own, pushing the bikes on a flying lap is a spectacle not to be missed.”

The format is used in World Superbikes and is being introduced in the British Superbikes for this season.

TT Superbike start numbers revealed

The start numbers for the Superbike and Senior TT races at this year’s Isle of Man TT have been revealed.

John McGuinness will once again lead the riders away. Last year he raced to victory in the Senior TT as well as setting a new outright lap record of 132.701mph. He will be followed by Bruce Anstey, who has previously started at number 5 for a number of years.

The top twenty riders are as follows:

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

Last year’s three time winner Ian Hutchinson will ride for Tyco BMW this year and get away fourth in the order. This is the number from which he started in 2010 when he took five race victories.

 

 

Peter Hickman – the fastest ever newcomer when he made his debut in 2014 – will be hoping to take his first TT victory as he moves up to start fifth, having started from number 17 last year. He will be just ahead of Michael Dunlop.

Gary Johnson leaves from number seven ahead of William Dunlop, Michael Rutter and Conor Cummins. A return to Wilson Craig Racing sees Cameron Donald start from number 11, with the competitive trio of Dean Harrison, Lee Johnston and Dan Kneen starting 12, 13 and 14 respectively. David Johnson rounds out the top 15 starters with Ryan Farquhar leaving from number 16 on the second Tyco BMW. The top 20 starters will be completed by Dan Stewart, Martin Jessopp, and Ivan Lintin.

There are also a number of impressive riders just outside the top twenty including Alan Bonner, Dan Cooper and Horst Saiger. Last year’s best newcomer Derek McGee is also back along with Jamie Coward, James Cowton and Stefano Bonetti. Eight newcomers will make their debut at this year’s event including Ben Wilson, Victor Cox and Seamus Elliott. They will be joined by Michael Booth, Alessandro Polita, Andres Pires, Forest Dunn, and Jochem van den Hoek.

 

 

 

 

Ryan Farquhar to ride Tyco BMW Superbike at TT

Ryan Farquhar will ride the Tyco BMW Superbike at this year’s Isle of Man TT it has been confirmed.

The Northern Irish rider will join Ian Hutchinson at the team for the Superbike and Senior TT races at this years event. Farquhar has three Isle of Man TT victories to his name already along with ten further podiums. His addition to the squad means that Tyco will have two representatives at the event following Guy Martin’s decision to take part in a cycling race in America at the same time.

Farquhar will continue to run his own KMR Kawasakis in the Supertwin class at this year’s road races as well as racing a BMW Superstock.

He recently confirmed that he would start his season at the returning Mid-Antrim 150 as well as taking part in the Tandragee 100. The Mid-Antrim has taken over from Cookstown as the opening race of the Irish road racing season and will take place on the 1st and 2nd of April.

Ulster Grand Prix organisers announce revised race week schedule

The Ulster Grand Prix race organisers have announced tweaks to the schedule for this year’s event.

Race week, which will take place from the 8th to the 13th of August this year, will see some changes following difficulties in recent years.

Last year only one race of the Dundrod 150 planned programme was held which saw Bruce Anstey victorious in a truncated Superbike race. Following a number of red flags and lengthy delays throughout the Thursday morning practice sessions, organisers ran out of time to run the remaining four races in the evening.

This year will see the roads close on the Wednesday for an extra two hours of practice while Thursday will get an extra half an hour. It means that practice sessions for all classes can run on the Wednesday with more time on the Thursday for racing.

“By increasing the amount of practice time on the Wednesday we’ve been able to allow more time for the Dundrod 150 races on the Thursday,” Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston explained. “[We have done this] without cutting into anyone’s track time, and that’s good news for all parties. We’ve also decided to move the riders briefings forward from Wednesday to Tuesday, with newcomers in the morning and all other competitors in the evening, which will allow everyone more time to familiarise themselves with the circuit.”

Race organisers have also confirmed that the Joey Dunlop Grandstand on the start/finish straight will have 160 seats available this year.