Dunlop powers to quick-fire double at Armoy
Michael Dunlop powered to a quick-fire double at the Roadside KIA Armoy Road Races on Saturday to the delight of his home fans.
Dunlop, who qualified on pole on his Bennetts Suzuki, won the Open Superbike race with a classy performance after shadowing Mullingar man Derek McGee.
The race was held in damp conditions and after Dunlop seized the initiative off the line, it was McGee – riding the B&W Site Sealants Kawasaki 600 – who was the surprise leader at the end of the opening lap.
He opened a gap of 2.3 seconds over Dunlop by the end of lap two, but the Ballymoney rider had closed the deficit to one and a half seconds on the next lap and was looking menacing on the GSX-R1000.
Dunlop was soon breathing down McGee’s neck and made his move to hit the front, quickly opening an cushion of two seconds as the front two pulled well clear of the battle for third.
The 15-time TT winner clocked the fastest lap of the race on his final lap to win by 4.6 seconds at the finish over McGee.
Newcomer Davey Todd snatched third place on his 600cc Kawasaki on corrected time after starting from the second group.
Todd narrowly edged out William Dunlop (Temple Golf Club Yamaha R1), who had passed Paul Jordan on the IMR BMW on the last lap to take third place on the road.
James Cowton completed the top six on the McAdoo Kawasaki ahead of Armoy newcomer Joey Thompson, who rides for Ian Lougher’s Kawasaki team.
Earlier, Dunlop won the Supersport race after again picking off McGee.
The 28-year-old was fourth at the start of the first lap but made rapid progress on his Yamaha, passing Christian Elkin and Adam McLean before setting off in pursuit of McGee.
Dunlop took over on the penultimate lap and put the hammer down to win by 3.3 seconds, with Cowton securing the final rostrum place ahead of the impressive Todd.
McLean finished fifth on the MSS Kawasaki, with Joey Thompson finalising the first six.
Elkin won the Moto3/125GP race for the fourth time in five years on the Bob Wylie Honda by 15.3 seconds from McLean, who was the first 125cc rider over the line.
Paul Robinson was third followed by Ian Lougher, both riding Moto3 Honda machines. Gary Dunlop finished in fifth on the Joey’s Bar Moto3 Honda.
Neil Kernohan won the Lightweight Supersport/250cc race in the wet on the Logan Honda from Darryl Tweed and Callum Laidlaw, both riding 400cc Yamaha machines.
In the Supertwins race, McGee prevailed by 0.8 seconds over Cowton, with McLean taking third as the top three were covered by 1.2 seconds.
Joe Loughlin from Castleblayney, who won the previous two Supertwins races at Walderstown and Armoy, crashed on the warm-up lap at Dunlop’s Leap, forcing a red flag. Loughlin was not badly hurt but did not start the race.