In Saturday’s penultimate round of the Irish Clubmans short circuit championships at Bishopscourt, Co Down, Andrew Murphy clinched both Bridgestone Tyres Supersport 600cc races to leapfrog the injured championship leader Billy Byrne to take the lead in the series with just two races remaining at Kirkistown on Saturday, September 5.
Limerick man Murphy, riding the Jackson Motors Honda, had been fourth fastest in practice, but when it came to the two eight-lap races he was the comfortable winner each time taking the chequered flag in the first encounter, seven and a half seconds clear of pole position man Chris Thompson, Jamie Patterson and Declan Hoey.
Second time around Murphy, now virtually assured of the title with Byrne likely to miss the final round, had four seconds to spare over Patterson, John Fuller and Hoey.
Shaun Anderson just held off Alan Bonner to win the Bridgestone 1010cc class, but Banbridge man Anderson had to settle for second place in race two behind Maghera’s Stephen McKeown, who was registering his first win in this particular class.
Two open national races saw Marshal Neill, getting in some practice for October’s Sunflower Trophy meeting, get the better of Richard Rea in race one after eight pulsating laps. Neill had led for most of the race before Rea, brother of World Superbike star Jonathan, hit the front on the final lap only to see Neill hit back at the ‘new loop’ of the track close to the finish line and take the chequered flag by a mere 10th of a second.
Rea won race two after Gerard Kinghan was disqualified for pulling a celebration ‘wheelie,’ deemed as against the rules by officials.
Neill had again led the race comfortably, but was forced to retire at two-thirds distance, Rea declared the winner from Gary Jeffers and Gary Robinson.
The two-horse race for the Pre’97 championship took another twist at the weekend when championship leader Kevin Greaney scored zero points while his closest rival Alan Kenny finished third in race one behind Johnny McCay and Damien McBreen, before turning the tables on his two opponents in race two to win and take the lead in the series by 11 points with two races remaining.
Philip Murphy was a double winner in the 125cc newcomer’s races while Darragh Murphy and Conor Parkhill shared the 125cc production events.
Meanwhile the Isle of Man practice for the Manx Grand Prix commenced on Saturday evening with controlled laps for newcomers and un-timed laps for the rest of the competitors with light fading. Timed practice is scheduled to get under way this evening at 6.15pm.