Newcomer Dan Kneen ups ante in Superbike class at Tandragee

William Dunlop (6), Dan Kneen (4) and Derek McGee (86) at the start of the Open Superbike race at Tandragee on Friday evening
William Dunlop (6), Dan Kneen (4) and Derek McGee (86) at the start of the Open Superbike race at Tandragee on Friday evening

Manx rider Dan Kneen proved his shock Superbike victory at the Cookstown 100 was no fluke as the Braddan man led the way during Friday night’s opening Superbike race at Tandragee.

The organisers took the decision to run the Open event for 201cc-1010cc machines following practice with the threat of rain looming on Saturday afternoon.

Kneen - who won the feature Superbike race at Cookstown to deny Tyco Suzuki’s William Dunlop a glorious roads bow for the Moneymore outfit after starting from the second group - was leading when the race was red-flagged on lap three of four.

Yorkshire rider Jamie Coward was reportedly involved in a high-speed crash, although it is understood his injuries were non life-threatening.

Based on the countback system, Kneen - who qualified fourth fastest - held an advantage of 0.905s at the end of the second lap on the Cookstown/BE Racing Suzuki over Mullingar’s Derek McGee, with Jamie Hamilton on Wilson Craig’s Honda in third.

William Dunlop, riding the Tyco Suzuki Supersport machine, was fourth - 2.365s down on Kneen - with Keith Amor on the 600cc Rig Deluge Honda and Banbridge man Shaun Anderson (CN Management Suzuki) the top six.

However, late on Friday night, the result had yet to be officially declared by the organisers.

William Dunlop topped the times on the TAS Racing GSX-R600 to take pole for the Superbike and Supersport races.

Dunlop’s lap of 103.802mph gave him the top spot in the Superbike class by 1.4 seconds from McGee (Kawasaki) with Skerries man Michael Sweeney in third. Kneen, Hamilton and Anderson are the top six, with Amor on his 600cc Honda and Ryan Farquhar (650cc Kawasaki) completing the first eight.

Ballymoney man Dunlop upped the tempo further to take pole for the Supersport race with a speed of 106.012mph followed by McGee in second and Scotsman Amor, who is making his first appearance at Tandragee since 2009. Hamilton, Sweeney and Seamus Elliott complete row two.

In the Supertwin class, Farquhar was fastest with a speed of 101.930mph on the SGS/KMR Kawasaki with team-mate Amor next and Hamilton third.