A jubilant David Haire kept his nerve to secure the prestigious Enkalon Trophy for the first time at Bishopscourt on Saturday.
The Lisburn rider never put a foot wrong as he produced an assured performance to win both Superbike races from Athlone rider Cody Nally, emerging as the winner of the 38th running of the famous event - held in association with Adelaide Insurance - on a sunny but blustery day at the Co. Down circuit.
“I had to fight hard for that one and I knew Cody was coming on strong in that second race,” Haire told the News Letter.
“It was a matter of keeping my head and just focusing on doing my own thing. I was wary of leaving a gap because I knew Cody would be through, so maybe I rode defensively on the last lap.
“But all that matters is that I’ve won the Enkalon Trophy and this has always been a dream of mine.”
Castledawson’s Mawhinney was delighted to take third overall in his first outing of the season on the Team Polaris Suzuki.
Mawhinney is competing in the Thundersport GB series this year on a Kawasaki with backing from Northern Escalator Installations and twice finished on the podium at Donington last weekend.
“I’m more than happy because this is the first time out on the big bike this season,” he said. “It’s not a bad effort when you consider that Davy and Cody have had a few races under their belts already, so I can’t complain about that.”
In the first Superbike race, Haire made all the running throughout the 10-lap duration on the DHR/B&W Kawasaki, taking the lead from the off and rattling off consistent laps to control proceedings from the front.
By the time Nally passed Mawhinney to move into second, Haire had the race sewn up and went on to win by 3.796s. Behind Nally and Mawhinney, the top six was completed by Denver Robb (DR Racing Kawasaki), last year’s Enkalon winner Derek Sheils (CD Racing MSS Kawasaki) and Stephen Thompson (Bathams BMW).
Haire made a flying start in race two but a determined Nally was soon into second place and began to reel in his Kawasaki rival.
The pair broke away from the pack but Haire was resolute in the face of pressure and despite his best efforts, Nally was unable to make a pass stick and the Northern Ireland rider held on by two tenths of a second to clinch one of the most iconic trophies in Northern Ireland motorcycling.
Mawhinney again claimed the last rostrum place, 11 seconds in arrears, narrowly holding off Sheils with Robb and Jamie Hamilton - making his debut on Wilson Craig’s Honda - the top six.
There was also a win for Haire in the first Supersport race as he took the honours from Carl Phillips and Keith Amor, although William Dunlop’s Tyco Suzuki debut was over almost before it started when he slid off on the first lap.
Phillips won race two on the Sandown Yamaha, who edged out long time leader Amor on a thrilling final lap with Haire finishing third.
Amor won both Supertwin races from his SGS KMR Kawasaki team-mate Ryan Farquhar.