Mar-Train Racing’s Dan Kneen produced a blistering performance to make the perfect start to his 2016 road racing schedule with a commanding victory in the feature Superbike race at the Around-a-Pound Tandragee 100.
The main event was red-flagged and re-started over five laps after a crash on lap two, which was later reported as a ‘minor incident’ involving Joe Newbould.
Following a short delay, Kneen made up for the disappointment of being hit with a one-minute penalty for jumping the start of the earlier Open Superbike race, powering away at the front on the YZF-R1 to win comfortably in the end by more than six seconds from Dublin man Derek Sheils (Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki).
Newcomer Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, a treble winner at the Mid Antrim 150, impressed again as he rounded out the rostrum places in third, 12.8 seconds behind.
William Dunlop, making his roads debut on the MSS Kawasaki Superstock machine, was next in fifth followed closely by Ryan Farquhar (IEG BMW), who appeared to have an issue with his S1000RR after setting the pace in the original race before it was halted due to the red-flag incident involving Newbould.
A delighted Kneen said: “I really enjoyed the racing today and it was great to get my first wins for Mar-Train. The boys have done a great job with the bikes so it’s nice to repay them so early in the season.
“I sat behind the guys in the first run of the Grand Final and the pace was steady so I knew I could get away on the restart. It’s fantastic to make it two from two at Tandragee.”
Dungannon racer Farquhar was declared the winner of the Open Superbike race earlier in the day when Kneen – who crossed the line first – and runner-up Sheils were penalised by 60 seconds for jumping the start, knocking them down to 10th and 11th positions respectively. A counter-appeal was launched and is due to be reviewed by the MCUI ‘in due course’.
William Dunlop was promoted to second place in the revised standings of the Open Superbike race behind Farquhar, with Mitchell-Thomas third from Michael Sweeney.
Ballymoney man Dunlop and the CD-IC Racing Yamaha proved an unbeatable combination in the Supersport race, hunting down early leaders Kneen and Mitchell-Thomas to hit the front with three laps remaining.
The 30-year-old put the hammer down on the sixth and final lap to shake off Kneen, winning by 1.2 seconds at the finish with Mitchell-Thomas in third.
Farquhar and Mitchell-Thomas served up a repeat of their Mid Antrim tussle in a thrilling Supertwins race, which Farquhar won after the Bolton rider went in too hot at the final corner on the last lap.
Derek Sheils made it two of John Burrows’ Supertwin machines on the rostrum as he finished in third.
James Chawke and Joe Newbould were the respective winners of the Junior and Senior Support races, while Rhys Hardisty won the 250cc event from Davy Morgan by 0.2 seconds.
In the 125cc race, Sam Wilson took the spoils from Adam McLean, while Gary Dunlop finished sixth on his Tandragee debut.
Michal Dokoupil was a narrow overall winner of the 400cc race from Farquhar (450cc Kawasaki).