Coward so slick in Dundrod downpour
On an afternoon of stop-start action due to accidents and changeable weather only three races were completed at Dundrod yesterday and one of those, the concurrently ran 125GP, Supersport 400 and Supertwin, saw a result declared on just two laps.
The Dundrod 150 Superbike race started in confusion with riders holding a meeting on the grid prior to the start.
Keith Amor was the only one to pull off the line prior to the start of the scheduled six-lap race saying: “Conditions are just too patchy and visibility is not great up the back of the circuit; it’s just not worth it.”
The rest of the grid, mostly on intermediate tyres, started the race, but before the first lap was completed the rain was falling and with Guy Martin flashing through at the end of lap one, nine seconds ahead of Ryan Farquhar, Gary Johnson, John Burrows, James McBride and Dan Kneen, a train of riders came into the pits including the Dunlops, Michael Pearson, Bruce Anstey, John McGuinness and Cameron Donald, who said: “It’s raining heavily from Leathemstown and just far too dangerous.”
In the deteriorating conditions the race was stopped and because of uncertainty of the conditions racing was then abandoned with the Dundrod Challenge and Superbike race abandoned.
The opening Dundrod National race was red flagged on the final lap when Derek Costello from Skerries, Co. Dublin, lying in third position at the time, crashed heavily at Flow Bog Cross Roads and was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital with injuries described last night as ‘serious’.
The race result was a 1-2-3 for newcomers to the circuit with Jamie Coward from Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire overhauling Czech Republic rider Michal Jiros on the last lap to win by four seconds with Michael Niblett from Leicestershire inheriting third after Costello crashed out.
Jiros had been in the lead for the opening four laps with Coward in hot pursuit, but with the fastest lap of the race on the fifth and final lap Coward overcame a 0.6sec deficit to pass his rival as they encountered slower riders to gain the victory.
Coward said: “I surprised myself as we had a few teething problems earlier in practice. I am absolutely delighted to win a race on such a famous circuit.”
Low cloud engulfed the high parts of the circuit shortly afterwards and after a 40-minute delay the concurrently ran 125GP/Supertwin race came under starters orders.
With Wayne Hamilton leading Ryan Farquhar by 0.2 seconds in the Supertwin class on lap three the race was stopped after an incident at Tornagrough. The race results were declared on two laps with wins for Ian Lougher in the 125cc class, Wayne Hamilton in the Supertwin and Andy Farrell in the Supersport 400.
In the classic race Ollie Linsdell emerged through the low cloud on his Royal Enfield to win his first road race since a serious accident at the Manx Grand Prix and Royal Enfield’s first win at Dundrod since 1925.
Linsdell was almost a minute ahead of Mark McGaw who edged Paul Coward to the chequered flag by a tenth of a second.
Dundrod 150 National Race result: 1st J. Coward, 2nd M. Jiros, 3rd M. Niblett, 4th S. Holz, 5th R. McPhee, 6th M. McCullough
Classic Race: 1st O. Linsdell, 2nd M. McGaw, 3rd P. Coward, 4th A. Brew, 5th D. Morgan, 6th P. Wakefield
125GP: 1st I. Lougher, 2nd P. Robinson, 3rd S. Dunlop, 4th N. Moore, 5th W. Cowden, 6th P. Wakefield
Supertwin: 1st W. Hamilton, 2nd R. Farquhar, 3rd J. Burrows, 4th J. Hamilton, 5th M. Sweeney, 6th A. Archibald.