Cody Nally had the bit between his teeth as the young Athlone rider rose to the challenge at the opening round of the Adelaide Masters Series at Mondello Park.
Nally had been in superb form prior to the event having won three of the first four Irish Superbike races and maintained that form as he roared to a treble at the Co Kildare circuit, which included a win in Sunday’s big money Grand Final.
Dublin’s Derek Sheils hounded Nally for much of the feature race but in the closing stages it was Marshall Neill who emerged as the biggest threat, setting the fastest lap of 54.109s on the Ryan McGill Joinery Kawasaki to close the gap to the leaders.
Neill made a pass on Sheils to plunder second place at the final corner but could do nothing to prevent Nally from taking the spoils.
“I’d like to thank all my boys for working hard at the bike all weekend and all my sponsors, it makes my job an awful lot easier,” said a jubilant Nally.
“I thought Marshall was going to make life hard for me on that last lap but luckily I got the big money off him today and that’s the main thing.”
Portadown man Neill lost ground after an average start, which ultimately cost him the chance of challenging Nally for the victory.
“I didn’t get as good a start as I’d have liked and I had a lot of work to do mid-race; maybe if I’d had another couple of laps I could’ve fought for the win,” he said. “But I’m very happy with the weekend after the small crash I had earlier [in the second Superbike race].”
Sheils was caught cold on Chris Dowd’s Kawasaki by the hard-charging Neill on the final lap but was satisfied to finish on the podium in third.
“I didn’t realise he was that close and I left a gap and Marshall came through,” he said. “It was a good tight race and it was good to be in the mix. I’d like to thank CD Racing and I’m happy enough.”
Manx rider Dan Kneen was fourth on John Burrows’ Cookstown/BE Racing Suzuki ahead of Gerard Kinghan and Mark Glasgow.
Nally opened his account in style on Saturday, taking victory in the first Superbike race by seven seconds from Kneen, who powered through from the third row of the grid. Kneen produced a flying final lap to overhaul Sheils, grabbing the runner-up spot by only 0.100s.
Sheils, though, earned a victory in the Supersport class in tricky conditions on the CD Racing Yamaha, with Luke Johnston an excellent second and Alan McLean third.
Sunday’s programme was thwarted by wet and windy conditions in the early part of the day, plus a host of red-flag situations.
In one particularly heavy crash, Mark Kelly collided with the pit wall as he battled for the lead of the Pre-Injection/250GP race with Mark Wheldon and was taken to hospital with suspected pelvic injuries.
Conditions improved as the day progressed, with Sheils emerging victorious in the second Superbike race of the weekend from Nally and Brian McCormack, which was restarted over six laps after Neill crashed out along with Alan Bonner.
Nally hit back in race three, reeling in Sheils to take the win with Glasgow next ahead of Neill.
Sunday’s Supersport races were won by Robert English and David Haire.
The next Masters round at Mondello takes place from June 14-15.