Record eighth 'Race of Legends' victory for home hero Michael Dunlop at Armoy

Michael Dunlop made it a record eight victories in the Race of Legends Superbike finale at Armoy on Saturday. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.
Michael Dunlop made it a record eight victories in the Race of Legends Superbike finale at Armoy on Saturday. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.
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Michael Dunlop put his injury woe behind him as the Ulster rider thrilled his home fans at Armoy with a record eighth successive victory in the ‘Race of Legends’ finale.

Dunlop had won the earlier Open race on the Tyco BMW and he completed a brilliant double in style in the big race of the day.

Michael Dunlop won the feature 'Race of Legends' feature race at Armoy for a record eighth time in a row. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

Michael Dunlop won the feature 'Race of Legends' feature race at Armoy for a record eighth time in a row. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

The ‘Race of Legends’ was initially red-flagged on lap four when Darren Cooper slid off, fortunately escaping serious injury. At the time, Derek McGee was leading narrowly from Dunlop and Derek Sheils.

The race was re-started over five laps, with Dunlop moving into pole based on positions at the end of the third lap before the stoppage.

It was McGee who grabbed the lead again ahead of Dunlop and Sheils, but at the end of the first lap Dunlop had forced his way to the front.

He was almost one second clear of McGee after lap two and he began to turn the screw, opening a cushion of 3.3 seconds on the next lap.

Michael Dunlop won the Open Superbike race at Armoy on the Tyco BMW on Saturday. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

Michael Dunlop won the Open Superbike race at Armoy on the Tyco BMW on Saturday. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

There was no stopping the 19-time Isle of Man TT winner, who continued to pull away as Sheils tried to find a way past McGee.

On the last lap, Sheils had finally moved into second place but Dunlop was long gone and he won comfortably in the end by 2.6 seconds.

McGee held onto third from Michael Sweeney, with Dominic Herbertson and Shaun Anderson filling the top six places.

Dunlop made a winning return from injury with victory in the Open Superbike race.

Michael Dunlop battles for the lead of the Open Superbike race with Derek McGee as Derek Sheils gives chase in third. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

Michael Dunlop battles for the lead of the Open Superbike race with Derek McGee as Derek Sheils gives chase in third. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

Despite hobbling around the paddock on crutches and requiring steps to climb onto his Tyco BMW Superbike, the Ballymoney man was a dominant winner as he quickly battled his way through to the front.

The 30-year-old sustained injuries including a reported broken pelvis and hip joint in a crash two weeks ago at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man.

Dunlop qualified fourth fastest and started the race from the second row of the grid, but he swooped for third past Thomas Maxwell on the opening lap in Armoy village.

He then set about chasing after race leaders Sheils and McGee and soon passed both to take over, opening a slender advantage of 0.1 seconds after the second lap from McGee, with Sheils dropping to third.

Armoy Open Superbike race winner Michael Dunlop with runner-up Derek Sheils (right) and Michael Sweeney, who finished third. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

Armoy Open Superbike race winner Michael Dunlop with runner-up Derek Sheils (right) and Michael Sweeney, who finished third. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.

Sheils picked moved past McGee into second place on the next lap, but Dunlop gradually pulled away from the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki rider.

At the end of the fifth lap, he led by 2.5 seconds from Sheils, with McGee and Michael Sweeney further back as they fought it out for third.

There was no catching Dunlop though, who extended his lead to 3.4 seconds on the sixth and penultimate lap.

He closed out a popular victory at his home race by 4.4 seconds from Sheils, with Sweeney taking third ahead of McGee. Maxwell and Dominic Herbertson completed the top six.

McGee was a comfortable winner of the Supersport race. He led all the way on his B&W Diamond Cutting Kawasaki to win by 5.3 seconds from Sweeney, with Sheils filling out the rostrum.

Mullingar man McGee also won the Supersport race on Friday evening when he edged out Paul Jordan by only 0.012 seconds for the win.

Magherafelt rider Jordan decided to sit out Saturday’s races at Armoy after hurting himself following a collision with McGee after the Supersport race had ended on Friday.

Michael Dunlop retired from the race after he was initially unable to get his MD Racing Honda off the line.

McGee also won the Moto3/125GP race by a long way on his Faraldo Racing Honda, giving him a treble at the event so far.

Gary Dunlop, who started at the rear of the grid after missing the qualifying session on Friday, came through to take second place on corrected time, 19.5 seconds down on McGee. Melissa Kennedy completed the top three.

McGee was denied a fourth victory overall at the meeting when he retired from the lead of the Supertwin race, which was won by Andy Farrell from Neil Kernohan, who won the Lightweight race on the 250cc Logan Honda.

Vinny Brennan dominated the Junior Support race to win from Dominic Cottrell and impressive newcomer Ryan Fenton from Ballymoney.

Fenton later won the Senior Support race for his maiden success, taking the win by 0.1 seconds from Andy McAllister with Friday’s winner Tommy Henry third.

In the Bill Kennedy Senior Classic race, held to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Frank Kennedy after a crash at the North West 200 in 1979, Dominic Herbertson emerged victorious on the Davies Motorsport 500 Honda-4.

Barry Davidson was a narrow winner in the Junior Classic race, sealing victory by half-a-second from Ed Manly.