Southern 100: Michael Dunlop wins red-flagged opening Superbike race from Jamie Coward and Davey Todd at Billown

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Michael Dunlop kicked off the 2024 Southern 100 with a victory in the opening Superbike race, which was red-flagged at the end of the third lap of a scheduled six-lap distance at the Billown course on Tuesday evening.

The Ballymoney man had qualified in second place on the front row on the Hawk Racing Honda with Yorkshire’s Jamie Coward claiming pole on the KTS Racing Honda in damp conditions earlier in the evening.

With roads still damp, Dunlop grabbed the lead off the line but it was Coward who had nosed ahead when they reached Cross Four Ways.

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Coward held a slender lead of half-a-second over Dunlop at the completion of the opening lap, with 2022 Solo Champion Davey Todd up to third on the Milwaukee BMW after qualifying in eighth.

Michael Dunlop won the Peel Holdings Senior race on the Hawk Racing Honda at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man. Picture: Dave Kneen/PacemakerMichael Dunlop won the Peel Holdings Senior race on the Hawk Racing Honda at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker
Michael Dunlop won the Peel Holdings Senior race on the Hawk Racing Honda at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker

Mike Browne (IN Competition Aprilia) and Dean Harrison (Honda), who had lined up on the front row in third, were giving chase in fourth and fifth respectively.

Coward still led at Cross Four Ways on the second lap but by the time they reached the finishing line Dunlop had made his move and was almost three tenths ahead.

The Ulster rider posted the fastest lap of the evening at 106.892mph to pull a gap of one second over Coward by the end of the third lap with Todd 5.9s further back in third.

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However, moments after the leaders completed the third lap the red flag was displayed and the race was stopped.

An official update shortly afterwards said the rider involved in the incident was ‘ok and taken to Noble’s Hospital’.

A result was declared after two laps, with Dunlop taking his 23rd Southern 100 win from Coward and Todd.

The top six was completed by Browne, Harrison and Michael Sweeney (MJR BMW).

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Conditions began to deteriorate with persistent rain but the opening Lightweight Supertwin race went ahead as planned, with Rob Hodson clinching the win on his Paton by 5.6s after five laps from Coward.

Todd took third for another podium on the Dafabet Racing Kawasaki.

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