Buckley races to maiden win
Published 03/04/2013 | 08:00
Nico Mawhinney and Johnny Buckley were the new names at the top of the podium after the Irish Superbike races at the Belfast and District Club promotion at Kirkistown.
With quite a number of non-starters, including Saturday's winner Derek Sheils, the way was left clear for first-time winners and although Marshall Neill was scheduled to take pole position an earlier Supersport spill put him out of the rest of the day's action.
In the first Ards Borough Council race Buckley made all the early running, half a second ahead of Mawhinney.
Suzuki-mounted Mawhinney hit the front on lap six of eight and with the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap he edged clear to win his first ever Irish superbike race by a quarter of a second from Buckley.
Stephen Thompson was seven seconds back in third with Wayne Kirwan fourth.
In race two, Buckley again hit the front from the start determined to make amends for his first outing setting the fastest lap on lap two and extended his lead over Mawhinney to 1.5secs on lap five of seven.
Not giving up, Mawhinney slashed the lead to less than a second with a lap to go and as they flashed into view from the final bend the pair were virtually side by side with Buckley holding on for his debut Irish superbike win by the slimmest of margins, one hundredth of a second, with Gareth Keys 10 seconds back in third.
There was drama all the way in the two Supersport races with race one stopped on the second lap after Neill had crashed from his Wilson Craig Honda at the chicane on lap one and although ruled out of the rest of the day's action, he escaped relatively unscathed.
On the restart, over seven laps, Mark Conlin was the earlier leader, but was soon passed by Alan McClean the pair never more than yards apart.
It was only on the final lap that Conlin hit back to take the lead and hold on to win by less than half a second. Drew Jamison and Jonny Harvey flashed across the finish line as one with Jamison in third four one hundredths ahead of his rival.
On the first lap of race two McClean and Harvey led away from the start, but both crashed out uninjured at the chicane leaving Wayne Kirwan leading from Jamie Patterson and Conlin.
Manx Grand Prix winner Kirwan held the lead from Conlin until lap five of seven before Conlin sailed past and go on to make it a Supersport double winning by 1.8secs, with Patterson relegated to third.
Korie McGreevey was also a double winner in the Moto3 class after two hectic dices with Nigel Percy, his winning margins a tenth and two tenths of a second.
Kirk Dickey doubled up in the Lightweight races, as did Damien Horan in the Superbike Cup races and Conor O'Neill in the supertwin events.
Despite the bitter cold, the racing was first class with 10 of the 14 races on the programme being won by half a second or less, such was the competitive nature of the competition.
And, despite a number of red flags during the meeting, no rider received more than minor injuries.