Michael Dunlop wrapped up the Irish National road racing season in fine style with a brilliant double in the Open and Grand Final races at Killalane near Dublin on Sunday.
Dunlop, fresh from victory in the feature Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 race at the Classic TT, successfully retained his crown after also triumphing at the event in the big race of the day in 2014.
The 26-year-old passed early leader Derek Sheils in the Open race before pulling away at the front on his BMW S1000RR, eventually taking the chequered flag with five seconds in hand over Sheils on the BikeBits Kawasaki, with William Dunlop’s third place finish enough for the Tyco BMW rider to clinch the Superbike title for the first time.
Dunlop was 14 seconds behind his brother at the line and four seconds ahead of Mullingar’s Derek McGee (Kawasaki), with Seamus Elliott on the WCR Honda and Skerries man Michael Sweeney – back in action after injury – rounding out the top six.
In the showpiece Country Crest Grand Final Superbike race, Sheils – a double winner at Skerries and Faugheen this season – surged into the lead on the opening lap chased by McGee and Michael Dunlop.
Sheils set the pace at the front but only by a slender margin of 0.3 seconds over Dunlop, who moved into second place ahead of McGee with William Dunlop slotting into fourth.
However, Sheils disappeared at the front and it was reported that the Kawasaki rider had been forced out, leaving Dunlop with an unassailable lead of nine seconds at the front ahead of McGee and Dunlop on the Tyco BMW.
There was no further drama as Dunlop closed out his second win of the day at the 3.6-mile circuit on his BMW S1000RR by almost 12.5 seconds, with McGee taking an excellent runner-up finish and the older of the Dunlop brothers securing the final position on the rostrum ahead of Waterford’s Brian McCormack.
William Dunlop ended the season unbeaten at the National meetings on the Chris Dowd/Ivan Curran Racing Yamaha.
The 30-year-old, who clinched the championship at Armoy, held off McGee to win by 1.5 seconds in the championship race with Southern 100 winner Elliott eight seconds down on Dunlop in third.
Kilkenny’s John Walsh, the evergreen Davy Morgan and Czech regular Michal Dokoupil rounded out the first half dozen.
Dunlop also prevailed in the non-championship Supersport race, which was red-flagged due to a non-serious accident.
The race had been restarted over four laps and Dunlop was credited with the win by 0.9 seconds from Elliott with McGee in third.
Walsh, Paul Jordan from Magherafelt and Morgan completed the first six positions.
Irish Supertwin champion and Ulster Grand Prix winner McGee capped an excellent season with another win on the Wogan Performance Kawasaki from Cheshire’s Connor Behan, with Dokoupil third from McLean and Stephen McKnight.
Kevin Fitzpatrick and Adam McLean were the respective winners of the Senior and Junior Support races, while Morgan and Elliott shared the spoils in the 250cc and 400cc races.