New lap record and Superbike kudos for Michael Dunlop at Armoy
Unstoppable Michael Dunlop smashed the outright lap record at the Armoy Road Races on Saturday with a blistering performance in the opening Superbike event.
Dunlop started from fifth place on row two of the grid on the SYNETIQ BMW and had moved up to third behind pole man Derek Sheils (Roadhouse Macau BMW) and Derek McGee (CITP Kawasaki) by the end of lap one, with Michael Sweeney right in contention on his MJR BMW.
The top four remained the same until the third lap, when Dunlop climbed to second place before passing Sheils as they flashed across the line, out-braking the southern Irishman to hold the lead into the chicane.
Dunlop then began to wind up the wick and he opened a cushion of 1.6s over Sheils at the end of lap four, with McGee holding third ahead of Sweeney, Davey Todd (Wilson Craig Honda) and Phil Crowe (BMW).
Ballymoney man Dunlop increased his lead further on the next lap, extending his advantage to 3.7s over Sheils, but there was more to come from the 19-time Isle of Man TT winner on the penultimate lap.
He shattered his 2013 lap record for the premier class to set a new benchmark of 106.945mph on the new BMW M1000RR, underlining his dominance in the race.
The 32-year-old slackened the pace slightly on the seventh and final lap as Dunlop clinched his fourth victory of the meeting and his 23rd at Armoy by 7.6s from Sheils, who kept McGee at bay to secure the runner-up spot. It was also a first Irish road race win for the all-new M1000RR BMW.
Sweeney finished fourth, with Todd and Crowe rounding out the top six.
Burrows Engineering/RK Racing riders Browne and Paul Jordan were in close company as they completed the top right respectively.