William and Michael Dunlop will go head to head in today’s Race of Legends at Armoy as they battle for supremacy in their home meeting.
William was only one tenth of a second quicker than his younger brother in superbike practice last night around the three mile Co Antrim course which is just a spin to the shops away from their Lisboy home.
“The bikes are flying,” William smiled afterwards as he also topped the time sheets in the Supersport class on the red and silver Wilson Craig Hondas.
Showing no ill effects from his recent 150mph crash at the Skerries 100 race, William will be hoping to emulate his 2010 Armoy performance when he went home with the Man of the Meeting award.
“It is my home race but I don’t really feel any extra pressure to be honest.,” he said “I know that Michael and Ryan will be fast on the big bikes as well so we will wait and see how it goes.”
Michael was also quick to include Ryan Farquhar and his KMR Kawasakis as a threat to the Dunlop challenge but he was confident his McAdoo/Hunt Honda Fireblade would be “there or thereabouts” in the big race.
However the 23 year old, who dominated the Armoy meeting last year with three wins, revealed that he is really struggling with a badly damaged back.
“I have two slipped discs and a ruptured muscle in my lower back, ” he grimaced with obvious pain.
“My mechanics had to lift me on to the bike so that I could practice tonight.”
In spite of his discomfort Michael was third fastest in te Supersport practice session behind his brother and Ryan Farquhar but he was riding the slower GSXR Suzuki rather than his TT winning Yamaha R6.
“I was rebuilding the engine in the Yamaha this week for the Ulster Grand Prix and the parts arrived late.
“So although I’ve finished building it now I haven’t had time to run it in properly so it’s at home in the garage and I’m on the slow Suzuki,” he explained.
Ryan Farquhar arrives at Armoy having won the Cock o’the North race at Scarborough last Sunday as his rivals took the weekend off and he was using Friday evening’s practice session to make some final adjustments to his new superbike spec ZX10.
“I have to change the suspension and the mapping in particular and then I think the bike will be as good as it was at Scarborough,” Ryan explained
Two other men who are using the Armoy event as preparation for the Ulster Grand Prix are the Tyco Suzuki duo of Guy Martin and Conor Cummins. Guy was fifth fastest in both of the main classes and his Manx teammate was seventh.
“It’s a great run out before Dundrod,” Guy said. “I came last year but wasn’t fit but I am in good shape this year.”
Cummins said: “I’m really enjoying it here.
“It’s great fun racing through the village, past the petrol station and people’s front doors and the massive jumps are magic. I am looking forward to it,” he added