Tag: road racing

Derek McGee Man of the Meeting at Armoy as Michael Dunlop secures seventh Race of Legends win

Derek McGee Man of the Meeting at Armoy as Michael Dunlop secures seventh Race of Legends win

Whilst all eyes were on Michael Dunlop as he secured his seventh Race of Legends feature race win in a row, it was Derek McGee who came away from the weekend as Man of the Meeting.

The Mullingar man was awarded the accolade after accumulating the most points with a win in the first Supersport race, second in the second Supersport race and the Open, and fourth in the Grand Final.

Practice sessions were held on Friday with times counting for qualifying, with the first two races taking place on Friday evening. In the Senior Support race it was two Armoy newcomers battling for the win. Joe Loughlin – who has been in control of the Junior/Senior Support classes all year – ultimately lost out to Adam Lyon, with the Scottish rider coming from the second group to win on corrected time by just over three seconds. David Howard joined the pair on the podium.

The first Supersport race was red flagged twice and the result was eventually declared after just two racing laps. The first red flag was caused by a incident involving Adam McLean and Paul Jordan. Both riders were OK and returned to the paddock on the back of marshals bikes. When the race was restarted it was red flagged again when weather conditions took a turn for the worse. A heavy downpour coupled with Michael Dunlop’s bike blowing up and leaving oil on the track meant that racing was halted for the night. McGee was declared the winner with road racing newcomer Davey Todd finishing second and Christian Elkin third.

On Saturday changeable weather conditions greeted race organisers and riders but a full programme was run with limited disruption. First up was Junior Support run over seven laps and this race was won by Loughlin who beat Marc Ironside and Glenn Walker. Then came Moto 3/125 won by Elkin riding a Moto 3. McLean was second and the leading 125 rider while Paul Robinson completed the podium in third. Ian Lougher finished fourth just shy of a second ahead of Gary Dunlop in fifth.

The second Supersport race was won by M Dunlop but he didn’t have it all his own way. McGee initially took the lead as Dunlop came through from seventh on the grid. He progressed up the order, overtaking Elkin at the start of the second lap before slotting into second by passing McLean at the start of lap three. He then closed down McGee’s leading margin before overtaking him and eventually securing a three second victory. James Cowton was third ahead of Todd (from the second group), McLean and newcomer Joey Thompson.

There was a red flag incident following three laps of the Classic race and a slight delay as an oil spill was cleared up. Ed Manly was the eventual winner when the race was re-run over four laps. He was joined on the podium by Wattie Brown and Barry Davidson.

Race seven of the event was the Open race and this saw M Dunlop achieve his second win of the day. The race was declared wet following a downpour just before the start and riders were given a sighting lap with the view of returning to the paddock to change tyres should they decide to. McGee returned to the grid straight away and revealed that most of the track – apart from the start – was wet. There was another warm up lap before a six lap race and it was McGee – riding his Kawasaki 600 – who took the initial lead. He started to pull away but M Dunlop soon caught and passed him, eventually winning by just over 4.5 seconds. William Dunlop crossed the line in third after catching and passing Cowton, but it was Todd who took the podium with corrected time from the second group. Paul Jordan was fifth on the IMR Evolution Camping BMW ahead of Cowton, Thompson, Mark Goodings, Dominic Herbertson and Forest Dunn.

Another rain downpour brought a red flag out in the Lightweight Supersport race but it wasn’t delayed for long. Neil Kernohan was the eventual winner, beating Darryl Tweed (who was the first 400cc rider) and Callum Laidlaw. McGee took the win in the Supertwin class after an exciting battle with McLean. The latter had been holding onto second place until the last lap when he was passed by Cowton. Elkin finished in fourth ahead of Michael Sweeney, Brad Vicars and Paul Gartland.

The penultimate race of the meeting was the second Senior Support and this time Loughlin got the better of Lyon, who came from the second group. The pair were once again joined on the podium by Howard who beat Ironside, Tommy Henry, Stephen McKeown and Alan Johnston.

Following a sighting lap and then a warm-up, the Grand Final – the Race of Legends – was run over seven laps. M Dunlop was in a class of his own on his Hawk Racing Suzuki, as he romped to a 12 second win over his brother William. Sweeney finished the race in third place, mere tenths of a second off second. McGee was fourth ahead of Cowton, Thompson, Todd and Jordan. Davy Morgan led the second group riders to finish in ninth, beating Goodings, Herbertson, Graham Kennedy, Vicars, Dunn and Laidlaw.

While McGee secured Man of the Meeting, Loughlin was named Support Man of the Meeting.

 

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Joe Loughlin wins five at Walderstown

Joe Loughlin took five wins at the Race of the South in Walderstown, making him the most successful rider at the weekend.

He won both the non championship and championship races in the Junior and Senior Support classes as well as taking victory in the Supertwins race. Other winners at the event included Adam McLean, Derek McGee and Derek Sheils.

Loughlin beat RJ Woolsey and Ben Mullane in the non championship Junior Support race. He set a new track record for the class on his way to a comfortable 27 second victory.  Backing this up, he went on to win the championship race by just over 20 seconds – again from Woolsey. This time Liam Chawke joined them on the podium. It was a closer fought affair in Senior Support, Loughlin’s winning margin just eight seconds in the non championship race. David and Damien Howard joined him on the podium. It was four out of four for Loughlin in the support classes with a nine second victory over Damien Howard in the championship leg of the race. David Howard was third.

Elsewhere, McLean backed up his impressive recent form with another win in the Supersport class. He took his first 600cc victory at Cookstown in April and once again he beat William Dunlop on his way to the chequered flag. It was a narrow margin as he crossed the line just four tenths clear with Paul Jordan a fine third just a further three tenths back. Jordan also set the fastest lap of the race. Michael Sweeney was fourth ahead of road racing newcomer Davey Todd.

Also standing on the top step of the podium was McGee who held off Dunlop to take the victory in the Open race. Sweeney took third place ahead of Sheils and Jordan. Sheils started from pole position for the Grand Final and took the win, setting the fastest lap on the way. McGee was second and Dunlop was third. In the Supertwins the top five were separated by just over three seconds with Loughlin taking the win. McLean finished in second place ahead of Sheils, McGee and Sweeney.

The Classics were also in action with a Junior and Senior race. Barry Davidson beat Richard Ford in the Junior Classic race with Sean Leonard joining them on the podium. Robert McCrum took the victory in the Senior Classic race while Ford was second and Davidson third. Paul Gartland won the 400cc race beating Mark Shiels, Steve Tobin, Aaron Boyd and Gerard Cummins.

Dean Harrison on form at Cock O’The North

Following his domination at the Spring Cup in April, Dean Harrison was once again the man to beat at Oliver’s Mount. The Silicone Engineering rider took seven wins – including the feature race – at the Cock O’The North meeting last weekend.

Harrison opened his account with a win in the first Junior race, beating Adam McLean by eight and a half seconds. Jamie Coward joined the pair on the podium. He followed that up by winning the Solo Open and the Senior. Ivan Lintin and McLean were the podium finishers in the Solo Open race. Daley Mathison and Lintin were second and third in the Senior race. Harrison also won the second leg of both races. There were podiums for Mathison in both while Lintin and McLean were third and second in the Senior and Junior races respectively.

The Cock O’The North feature race saw Harrison cross the line just over three seconds clear of Harrison. McLean rounded off a successful weekend of racing with his fifth podium of the meeting. Coward was fourth ahead of Mick Goodings, Daniel Frear, Brian Greenfield, Darren Cooper and James Cowton.

Elsewhere Joey Thompson was victorious in both Ultra Lightweight/Lightweight races. In both races he was joined on the podium by Rhys Hardistry and Frear – Hardistry second in race one and Frear second in race two.

Lintin took the win in both Super Lightweight races. It was a narrow victory in race one, beating Cowton by just nine tenths of a second while McLean was 1.4 seconds off the winner. In the second leg the gap was smaller still – down to seven tenths – while Bradley Vicars joined the leading two on the podium.

Joining the riders winning more than one race were Steven Haddow and David Bell. Haddow won both Junior B races beating Ben Shuttlewood and Russell Brook in both. The winning margin was just over a second in both races. Bell won both Classic Superbike races. He beat Peter Boast and Daniel Ingham in both. Paul Marley won the Solo Open B race beating Haddow and Shuttlewood. Brian Greenfield beat Haddow and Marley in the Solo Open B race.

In the Sidecar class it was two out of three for the Steve and Matty Ramsden partnership. They won the second and third race. Lee Crawford and Harry Payne beat the Ramsdens by four tenths of a second in race one. John and Jake Lowther were third. In race two the Ramsdens beat the Lowthers while Conrad Harrison and Andrew Winkle joined them on the podium. This result was replicated in race three.

Derek Sheils doubles up at Cookstown 100

Derek Sheils doubles up at Cookstown 100

Derek Sheils and Joesph Loughlin were both two time winners at this year’s Cookstown 100.

Over the course of Friday and Saturday there were 15 different winners from the 17 races held. It was a largely dry event, however some rain showers and a number of red flag incidents led to the schedule being re-jigged by race organisers about halfway through the day. They still managed to get the full programme completed.

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Derek Sheils

Sheils’ two victories came in the Open A and Cookstown 100 A races. He started from pole position in the Open race and finished over two seconds clear of Derek McGee with William Dunlop in third. Michael Sweeney narrowly missed a podium position by just tenths of a second. Guy Martin finished a corrected time fifth place from the second group. Sheils’ upped his advantage for the Cookstown 100, beating McGee by 11 seconds while Sweeney put a last lap move on Dunlop to take the last podium spot. James Cowton rounded out the top five finishers.

In the Supersport class there were victories for Dunlop, Adam McLean and Brad Vicars. On Friday evening Dunlop beat McGee by just two tenths of a second in the Invitational race with McLean rounding out the podium finishers. Cowton and Sheils were fourth and fifth respectively. In the Supersport A race on Saturday it was a controlled victory for McLean – his first in the class on the roads. He held off stiff competition from the opposition to beat McGee and Cowton by just two and four tenths respectively. Dunlop was fourth with Sheils fifth. Supersport B was won by Vicars who beat Barry Evans and Dominic Herbertson. Again it was a close podium as the top three were separated by just half a second.

Cowton was the winner in the Supertwin A race with McGee and McLean picking up more podium finishes. Paul Gartland, Mark Dangerfield and Scott Miller completed the top three in the B race. The Moto 3/125 race saw Sam Wilson taking victory on the Joey’s Bar bike beating Paul Robinson and Justin Waring. Nigel Moore was the leading 125 rider, finishing fourth overall, while Gary Dunlop finished fifth on corrected time. The Ballymoney man had been on a charge but this was halted by a red flag – one of many throughout the day.

Joseph Loughlin backed up his Tandragee 100 victories with wins in the Junior and Senior Support classes. In Junior Support A he beat Oisin Watson by over 12 seconds while Jamie Williams finished in third. RJ Woolsey took a corrected time victory over Derek Wilkie and Ben Mullane in the Junior Support B race. Loughlin’s win in the Senior Support A race saw him beat Adam Lyon and David Howard. Senior Support B was won by Alan Johnston on Friday evening. Wilkie was second while Stephen Farrell finished in third place.

Darryl Tweed beat Seamus Elliott in the Supersport 400/Forgotten Era race, with Alistair Haworth in third. Robert Wilson was the victor in the Open B race beating Tweed and Dan Cooper. Cooper then went on to win the Cookstown 100 B race – the last of the meeting – beating Wilson from the third group on corrected time. Gartland was third. In the Classic races Barry Davidson took overall Junior Classic victory on his Honda 350 while Richard Ford was the leading 250 home. Robert McCrum was the winner in the Senior Classic race.

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Riders on their way to the grid 

Next up on the roads is the first International event of the year – the North West 200.

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!