Johnson quickest but rain is the real winner at Dundrod
The opening practice session for Saturday’s McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix was abandoned due to poor visibility after just half the scheduled eight sessions.
The superbike machines were held in the warm-up area with heavy rain hitting the circuit requiring a quick change of tyres for riders before their practice session, but the rain and decreasing visibility forced organisers to abort the session; conditions which Michael Dunlop, 11th fastest in the session, described as “horrendous” .
“I had a real big slide just going onto the Flying Kilo and I had to back off, it was awful out there,” said Dunlop.
Fastest in the shortened session was TT supersport race winner Gary Johnson with a speed of 110.332mph, compared to the Dundrod lap record of 133.977 mph set by Bruce Anstey last year.
Half a second slower and second quickest in the atrocious conditions was Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider Guy Martin at a speed of 110.098mph, with Keith Amor third quickest at 109.550mph.
Way off the pace was Bruce Anstey in ninth, John McGuinness 12th, Cameron Donald 14th and Ryan Farquhar down in 34th position.
Earlier in the afternoon, and after an initial delay to replace safety bales, practice got under way with the 125cc and supertwin machines first to register lap speeds. In the supertwins it was a Co Tyrone 1-2-3 as Farquhar recorded the fastest lap in 113.568mph, almost five and a
half seconds faster than Annaghmore rider Wayne Hamilton with John Burrows just a tenth of a second adrift of Hamilton.
In this session Julian Kirk crashed and sustained a suspected broken ankle.
In the concurrently run 125GP class Paul Robinson, back on board his Wray Brothers/Stoneyford Concrete ex-GP Aprilia, set the pace with a lap speed of 105.413mph, three seconds clear of Welshman Ian Lougher with William Dunlop in third position six seconds further back
An accident in the Dundrod National/Challenge practice session involving John McAllister further compounded the delays, the Belfast rider crashing at Cochranstown and taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Derek Sheils was fastest in this class, a mere two thousandths of a second faster than Steve Mercer.
Practice continues this morning with roads closing at 10.30am with the Dundrod 150 race programme starting at around 1.30pm.
Superbikes: 1st G. Johnson 110.332mph, 2nd G. Martin 110.098, 3rd K. Amor 109.550, 4th I. Lougher 109.507, 5th W. Dunlop 109.201, 6th J. Burrows 107.865
125GP: 1st P. Robinson 105.413mph, 2nd I. Lougher 104.152, 3rd W. Dunlop 101.806, 4th S. Dunlop 101.193, 5th N. Moore 100.820, 6th C. Gibson 99.470
Supertwins: 1st R. Farquhar 113.568mph, 2nd W. Hamilton 110.980, 3rd J. Burrows 110.906, 4th L. Hill 108.143, 5th J. Hamilton 107.410, 6th J. Phillips 107.054
Dundrod National/Challenge: 1st D. Sheils 121.030mph, 2nd S. Mercer 121.029, 3rd A. Farrell 118.892, 4th S. Anderson 118.106.