Bangor’s Robert English extended his Masters Superbike Championship lead with two more wins at Mondello Park’s National Circuit in Co Kildare over the weekend.
The IFS Yamaha rider appeared unstoppable following his opening win on Saturday, which he followed up with another victory to complete a double on Sunday.
However, Antrim’s Nikki Coates had other ideas and managed to throw a spanner in the works as he thwarted English’s hat-trick bid in the final race of the weekend.
On Saturday, Coates could do nothing to stop English disappearing into the distance as he was left to battle with Athlone rider Cody Nally for second place.
Declan Hoey and Brian McCormack were also in contention until a big accident at Bridgestone Corner ruled Waterford rider McCormack out.
At the finish it was English who closed out a comfortable win from Coates, Nally, Hoey and the returning Peter Moloney.
In Sunday’s first race, initial leader Hoey faded and English quickly took control, opening a sizeable lead and allowing himself the luxury of slackening the pace in the closing stages to preserve his tyres.
Coates and Nally both closed in as they finalised the top three places, while Hoey crashed out, promoting Moloney to fourth place ahead of Mark Glasgow.
The final race of the day served up the best action of the weekend, with English setting a hot pace and looking poised to see off his rivals once more.
However, Coates was fired up to make amends on the Kingsbury Packaging Kawasaki and he began to slash the deficit to the double winner, eventually making his move at Bridgestone Corner.
English fought back, with Nally snapping at his heels as the southern Irish rider threw down his own challenge.
Coates, though, had enough in reserve to hold on for the win ahead of English by less than two-tenths-of-a-second, with Nally making it three podiums from three races. Moloney once again finished fourth ahead of Glasgow.
The Supersport class was equally enthralling with Coates right in the thick of things throughout. In Saturday’s first race, Coates and Jason Lynn had yet another coming together, with both riders crashing out before they had completed a lap, leaving them down the grid order for race two. Richie Ryan won from Luke Johnston. while Dean McMaster finished third.
Ryan also won Sunday’s Supersport opener, while Coates managed to pip Clifford for the final place on the rostrum on the last lap.
Johnston wion the final race after Ryan retired with a problem, leaving Lynn to snatch second ahead of Coates.