Derek Sheils and Adam McLean among winners at Dunlop Masters
There were three different winners of the Dunlop Masters Superbike races as the championship finally got under way over the weekend at Mondello Park.
Only one race took place at the Co Kildare circuit in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the organisers are hopeful of running a full five-round series this year as restrictions begin to ease.
However, the first round was held behind closed doors at Mondello, where Ahoghill’s Luke Johnston took the spoils in the first race on Saturday.
Johnston narrowly held of Irish road racing star and former champion Derek Sheils to take the win on the full international circuit by only 0.271s, while reigning champion Richie Ryan from Kilkenny completed the top three, only 0.6s further adrift. Ray Casey, Michael Sweeney and Emmett O’Grady were the top six.
Yesterday, it was Ryan – gunning for a fourth straight Masters title – who came out on top on his 1000c Yamaha R1 in race two. He dominated the race to win by over eight seconds from Johnston, while Skerries man Sweeney finished claimed his maiden Masters rostrum on his MJR BMW.
Thomas O’Grady, Emmett O’Grady and Carrick’s Ross Irwin were the leading half dozen. Wicklow man Sheils was a retirement from third place on his Roadhouse Macau BMW.
Sheils, though, bounced back to win the final restarted race of the weekend, digging deep to open a gap over Ryan before eventually sealing a comfortable win by four seconds. Sweeney was back on the podium again in third, almost seven seconds behind Sheils, with Emmett and Thomas O’Grady next.
In the Supersport class, Tobermore’s Adam McLean emerged victorious in Saturday’s first race on his Kawasaki.
The Tobermore man was involved in a fierce scrap with Kevin Keyes and there was only 0.036s between them as they flashed across the line.
Magherafelt man Paul Jordan was a fine third on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha, despite his relative inexperience of Mondello Park. Jordan only just held off team-mate Mike Browne to secure the final rostrum spot by 0.137s.
The John Burrows-run team plans to contest the full Dunlop Masters Championship this year due to the lack of road races, with most events cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In race two yesterday, Keyes turned the tables on McLean to win by half-a-second after a late pass at the final corner, with Cork man Browne bagging another podium for Burrows’ Dungannon team in third. Jordan crashed out of the race unhurt.
McLean did not start race three, leaving Keyes to wrap up a double by 3.4 seconds from Browne, with third going to Andrew Murphy. Jordan pulled out of the race on the opening lap.
In the Supertwins class, Irish national road racing frontrunner Sweeney was unbeatable as he raced to a hat-trick, with Kevin Baker taking the runner-up spot in each of the three races over the weekend.
The next round of the championship is due to take place from July 24-25.
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