Doubles for Derek Sheils and Josh Elliott at Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park
Derek Sheils’ chances of a clean sweep in the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship were thwarted by a crash in the final race of the weekend at Mondello Park in Co Kildare.
The Wicklow man won Saturday’s race on his Roadhouse Macau BMW Superstock machine by 0.2s from Dubliner Thomas O’Grady (Yamaha R1), with Cavan’s Alan Kenny completing the top three on his Yamaha.
In the second race on Sunday, Sheils – who was making the switch back to short circuit racing after two weeks at the Isle of Man TT – cleared off to complete his double by four seconds from Thomas O’Grady, with Emmett O’Grady in third spot.
Kenny, who led the championship by eight points over four-time champion Richie Ryan – absent at the weekend – slid out of third place at the first corner.
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The third and final Superbike race of the weekend was held on a wet but drying track after heavy rain showers in the afternoon, which combined with the strong wind made conditions difficult for the riders.
Sheils took control of the race on his BMW S1000RR but Emmett O’Grady began to make close in and was soon pressuring the Wicklow rider.
With three laps to go, Sheils crashed out unhurt at turn four, leaving O’Grady clear in the lead.
Behind him, Cork’s Ray Casey and Superbike Cup rider Daniel Matheson from Co Down battled it out for the runner-up spot, with Matheson getting the verdict after forcing his way past on the last lap.
Young gun Johnny Campbell from Lisburn finished in an impressive fourth place.
In the Supersport class, Fermanagh’s Josh Elliott won twice on his racing return.
Elliott will contest the remainder of the Masters series after joining fellow Northern Ireland rider Ajay Carey in the AKR Thomas Bourne Racing team to ride a Honda.
A British Superbike winner at Silverstone in 2019 on the OMG Suzuki, Elliott won Saturday’s first race by a few tenths of a second from Emmett O’Grady and sealed a brace in race two, again getting the getter of O’Grady by 0.9s.
However, O’Grady turned the tables in race three, edging past Elliott at the end of lap 10 and keeping his nose in front to take the win on his Yamaha by 0.125s at the flag.
Carey finished on the podium in third to make it a trio of rostrum results.
The championship leader made the step up to the Supersport class this season and has excelled so far, leading the title standings after the first three rounds.
“I’m loving it but there’s a lot of competition this weekend, so the more the better and I’m enjoying it,” he said.
“The Supersport machines are very fast but the experience of riding the 300 taught me how to race hard, and you have to race hard in every race in this class.
“With the small bike, you have to ride a lot harder in the corners, but the bigger bike takes a lot more setting up with suspension and getting everything right, but it’s also a lot more enjoyable to ride.”
Thomas O’Grady won all three Supertwin races, while Damien Horgan was a triple winner in the Moto 400 class.
Youngster Reuben Sherman-Boyd won all four Moto One races, while Adam Brown doubled up in the Junior Supersport races, claiming two wins over Rossi Dobson.
Dobson scaled the top step on Sunday as he bagged a Junior Supersport double, twice beating Nick Burns to the top spot.
Round four of the series at Mondello Park takes place from July 23-24.
Road racer Sheils will now be gearing up for the Country Crest Skerries 100 Road Races in Co Dublin (July 2-3).
A nine-time winner at the event, he is one of only two riders to lap the coastal course at more than 111mph, with Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop holding the outright lap record.
Sheils’ opposition includes Skerries man Michael Sweeney plus Thomas Maxwell from Mullingar.
Paul Jordan, a podium finisher at the Isle of Man TT in the Supertwin race, is also entered along with fellow Ulsterman Darryl Tweed, who will ride a 600 Honda for the Wilson Craig Racing Team.