Treble for Alastair Seeley and victory for Michael Dunlop at Kirkistown
Alastair Seeley was in top form as the former British champion secured a terrific treble at a sun-splashed Kirkistown in Co Down on Saturday.
Seeley won both Superbike events and the first Supersport race on his IFS Yamaha machines, while Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop claimed a win in the second Supersport event on his Yamaha after Seeley was forced out.
As motorcycle racing returned in Northern Ireland for the first time in 2021, the organising Belfast and District Club was blessed with fantastic summer weather on the Ards Peninsula.
And those fans who pre-booked their admission tickets after the event was initially postponed from June 5 were treated to some superb racing around the 1.5-mile airfield circuit.
In the Superbike opener, pole man Seeley and Derek Sheils on his Roadhouse Macau BMW engaged in a battle from the off, with Seeley establishing a new lap record in 54.779s (99.05mph) as the pace increased.
With the race poised for a thrilling climax, the red flag came out with two laps to go, and the result was declared based on positions after six laps.
Seeley took the win by just 0.4s from Sheils, with Ali Kirk from Dromara impressing on his return to racing for the first time since late 2019 in third on his AKR/McCurry Motorsport BMW.
Jason Lynn (J McC Racing Suzuki), Michael Sweeney (MJR BMW) and Jonny Campbell (155 Racing Yamaha) were the top six.
Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop pulled in after the first lap as he arrived at Kirkistown with the SYNETIQ BMW M1000RR in tow.
In race two, Seeley turned up the wick and shattered the lap record once more to win by 1.7s from Sheils, who had a comfortable advantage over Kirk in third. Dunlop had another DNF on the new ‘M’ BMW.
Seeley’s new outright benchmark now stands at 99.428mph following his lap in 54.701s.
Earlier, 24-time North West 200 winner Seeley opened his account with victory on the IFS Yamaha R6 in the first Supersport race, crossing the line to win by 1.8s from McAdoo Racing’s Adam McLean, with Dunlop taking third on his Yamaha.
Seeley was also leading the second Supersport race but his bid for a quadruple was ended with a machine issue, which left Dunlop in control.
The 19-time Isle of Man TT winner went on to win by amost six seconds from Jason Lynn, with Derek McGee from Mullingar taking third on his Kawasaki.
Former Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams was a surprise entry in the Supertwin races and the veteran showed his young rivals the way around, claiming a double on the IFS fonaCAB Paton.
McWilliams beat Darryl Tweed (McAdoo Kawasaki) and Michael Sweeney (KBS Kawasaki) in race one, with Sweeney taking the runner-up spot in race two ahead of Kevin Lavery (McNulty Motors Kawasaki).
In the Moto3 class, 12-year-old Ruben Sherman Boyd was a double winner as he made his short circuit debut. The youngster, a protégé of the Irish Minibike Championship, also finished third in the second Moto One race. Kai McClintock won both Moto One races on his Studio 16 Kawasaki from Lee Hara (IMC Scholarship Tianda).
Hot prospect Cameron Dawson from Dungannon dominated with a double in the Supersport 300 class on his Kawasaki.
The domestic action now switches to Bishopscourt next weekend for the Mid Antrim Club’s Neil and Donny Robinson Memorial meeting on Saturday and Sunday.