Michael Dunlop completes Armoy treble with second Supersport victory
Man of the moment Michael Dunlop completed a treble at Armoy as he won the second Supersport race on Saturday after a pulsating battle with Derek McGee.
Dunlop, who was victorious in the opening Supersport event on Friday and the first Lightweight Supersport race, picked up where he left off on Saturday morning as he battled all the way for his third victory of the meeting.
The Ballymoney man had to dig deep to fend off a determined McGee, who was forced out of Friday’s race with an issue with his Kawasaki.
Dunlop didn’t make a great start from pole on his Yamaha R6 and was lying in fourth at the end of lap one behind McGee, McAdoo Racing’s Adam McLean and Davey Todd on the Wilson Craig Honda.
The top four quickly broke away from the rest the pack, which was headed by England’s Dominic Herbertson.
At the half-way mark, Dunlop had hauled himself up to second place as he took up the pursuit of Mullingar man McGee.
The duo pulled away from McLean in third, who in turn had opened a gap over Todd.
At the end of lap four, it was Dunlop who now held a slender lead over McGee by just 0.4s, but the southern Irish rider wasn’t prepared to go down without a fight.
McGee nosed ahead marginally to lead across the line as they started the seventh and final lap, but Dunlop hit back to reclaim the advantage going into the chicane.
And it was the home favourite who prevailed by the slimmest of margins, with Dunlop winning his 22nd race at Armoy by only 0.028s on the line.
McLean, second in Friday’s Supersport race, was 5.3s back in third, with Todd a further five seconds adrift as he wrapped up fourth.
Herbertson and Joe Loughlin completed the top six, with Paul Jordan taking seventh on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha.
One of the main contenders in the class, Michael Sweeney, was a non-starter on his Yamaha. Sweeney also missed Friday’s race.
Earlier, Cork’s Mike Browne made a winning debut on the Joey’s Bar Honda Moto3 machine. Browne took his first win at Armoy by 21.7s from Enniskillen Melissa Kennedy (KNR Honda), with Eoin O’Siochru completing the top three.
Barry Davidson won the concurrently run Supersport 300 race by 0.023s from RJ Woolsey, who set a new lap record for the class at 79.073mph.
Dubliner O’Siochru was declared the winner of the Junior Support race, which was red-flagged after four laps following an incident at Dunlop’s Leap.
Yorkshire’s Sam Johnson won the Open B race on his 600cc Suzuki.
The Armoy meeting is the first Irish road race of the year after every other national event, with the exception of September's postponed Cookstown 100, was cancelled.