Michael Dunlop reigns in Armoy ‘Race of Legends’ finale

Michael Dunlop (BMW) leads Guy Martin (Tyco Suzuki) in the 'Race of Legends' at Armoy
Michael Dunlop (BMW) leads Guy Martin (Tyco Suzuki) in the 'Race of Legends' at Armoy

Home favourite Michael Dunlop gave the crowds what they came to see as the BMW rider reigned supreme in the blue riband ‘Race of Legends’ Superbike race at Armoy.

Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin was gunning for a treble at the popular Irish national road race after earlier winning the first Superbike and Supersport races in the wet, but Dunlop shone in the sunshine in the big race of the day as he secured a comfortable win by more than three seconds.

The 25-year-old also set the fastest lap of the day on his MD Racing BMW Superstock machine at 105.992mph as he crossed the line to seal victory from Martin and Manx rider Dan Kneen, who finished on the rostrum in third place on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki ahead of William Dunlop.

It was Dunlop’s 11th win and his fourth in the ‘Race of Legends’ Grand Final as he now joins Ryan Farquhar as the most successful riders ever at the event, which was first held in 2009.

Martin, meanwhile - who had to settle for the runner-up spot behind team-mate William Dunlop in Friday night’s opening Supersport race - turned the tables to win the second 600cc race in the wet.

He looked set to battle it out with returning Scottish star Keith Amor on the fifth and final lap, but Amor’s chances were ruined when the 42-year-old overshot at Robbo’s Hairpin in the village.

Amor recovered to claim the last place on the rostrum as Martin took his first ever Armoy win by 6.6 seconds from Dunlop.

Mullingar’s Derek McGee finished fourth ahead of Michael Dunlop and Derek Sheils.

Martin went on to wrap up a double in the first Superbike race, which was held over five laps as a result of heavy rain.

He blasted into the lead from William Dunlop and Kneen, who made a superb start from row two.

Pole man Michael Dunlop was fifth on lap one but was soon into third place on the next lap as he chased after the Tyco Suzuki duo.

Martin stretched an advantage of 2.78 seconds over his team-mate but once BMW rider Dunlop moved into second place he began to reel in his Suzuki rival.

Dunlop, though, ran out of time and Martin went on to close out the win by 0.819 seconds with William Dunlop finishing third and the top six completed by Kneen, Keith Amor on his Rig Deluge Supersport Honda and Derek McGee.

Amor produced a battling ride to win the Supertwin race on the KMR SGS International Kawasaki by 1.408 seconds from Irishman McGee and England’s James Cowton, who had qualified on pole.

Michael Dunlop was a retirement in the race on the McAdoo Kawasaki.

The Moto3/125GP race went to Christian Elkin by nine seconds from Ballymoney man Paul Robinson and Nigel Moore.

The race was halted when Melissa Kennedy crashed out at the half-way mark, although she escaped injury and returned to the paddock later in the afternoon.

Ballymoney’s Seamus Elliott was a decisive winner of the 250GP race by 11 seconds from Neil Kernohan, with third place going to James Cowton.

The Classic spoils were shared by Robert McCrum and Barry Davidson, who came out on top in the Senior and Junior races respectively.

Sean Connolly was the winner of the Junior Support race from Neil Kernohan.

There was a significant delay as a result of torrential rain after the first Superbike race but conditions improved as the afternoon wore on and the organisers managed to run the full schedule as planned.