Mark McLernon sets sights on Ulster clean sweep

Mark McLernon and Justin Reid wheel-to-wheel at Seaforde. Pic by Maurice Montgomery
Mark McLernon and Justin Reid wheel-to-wheel at Seaforde. Pic by Maurice Montgomery
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Hillsborough rider Mark McLernon is on course for a clean sweep of race victories in the Ulster Quad Championship after yet another brilliant treble.

Riding the Quadbikes R Us/Rea Engineering Honda, the 23-year-old was in devastating form around the hills of Seaforde.

He is unbeaten on home soil this season and looks odds-on to keep that record if Saturday is anything to go on.

In the opening race, he came through from second off the gate to hit the front on lap two, passing Justin Reid on the Can-Am DS 450 XMX, who hung on to his great rival before struggling home with a rear-left puncture that eventually allowed young Dean Dillon through to second before the finish.

In race two, McLernon led from start to finish with over five seconds to spare by the flag over Reid, who was well clear of Dillon in third.

In the final race of the day, it was Dillon who made the hole shot - leading his two Ireland team-mates, McLernon and Reid, on the opening lap before, firstly, McLernon got past, followed by Reid a lap later.

It was a great battle between them, over the 12-lapper - but again at the flag it was that man McLernon, with Reid just over two seconds adrift.

Kyle Murphy was third, with Dillon struggling home with no front brake in sixth.

“Three out of three, it was a perfect day,” said McLernon. “We have only six more races to go in the Ulster and I am aiming for six more wins to complete a perfect year.

“In race three today Justin (Reid) kept me honest, pushing me all the way to the flag.

“Again a big thanks to Quadbikes R Us and Rea Engineering for all their support.”

Second overall Reid said: “That wasn’t too bad, I made decent starts and that is half the battle in this game, to get away at the start.

“It was a pity I got the puncture in race one but that’s how it goes sometimes.

“I got a lot closer to Mark in race three but Seaforde is a tight track and difficult to make a pass on.

“Still, I was just about matching his pace so I’m happy about that.”

Dean Dillon summed up his day as “two good finishes in the opening two races then my luck ran out in race three”.

“I led off the start then Mark passed me on lap two and a stone from his bike broke the front brakeline and I had to ride the whole race with no front brake,” said Dillon.

In the sidecar class, it was Lisburn’s Neil Campbell who took the overall victory with two wins and a second place.

“He had a great battle with his fierce rival, Gary Moulds, in race one but had to settle for second at the flag, just over two seconds behind.

It was a different story in race two as Campbell and Ross Graham finished over 10 seconds clear of Moulds and Paul Horton.

Less than a half a second separated the duo in race three at the flag after nine close laps of action.

“Today went well and we managed to get out and speed back up again and get some close racing with Gary and Paul.” said Campbell.

Moulds said: “We had a few electrical and suspension issues in the opening two races.

“Even though we won race one the bike kept cutting out in the air and around the corners.

“We gated second to Neil and Ross in race three and on a track that is hard to pass on you have to pick the right moment.

“I done that but our lead only lasted a whole five corners until we almost high-sided, with Neil and Ross taking the advantage.

“We couldn’t find that gap again to get past but we had a lot of fun with no bike or arm pump issues.

“A big ‘thank you’ to the team and Paul for all their help.”

Emma Moulds and Niki Adair finished the day with three third-place finishes for third overall.