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Armoy Road Races 2015: Michael Dunlop captures mood and William scores a double

By Roy Harris

Published 27/07/2015

Solitary brother: William (6) and eventual winner Michael Dunlop battle around village streets in Armoy Race of Legends
Solitary brother: William (6) and eventual winner Michael Dunlop battle around village streets in Armoy Race of Legends
Michael Dunlop celebrates with fans following his win in the Armoy Race of Legends.

Master blaster Michael Dunlop bounced back from a lean year by his standards to take his fifth successive victory in the Race of Legends during Armoy Road Races on Saturday, his 12th win in total during the seven years his local race meeting has been running.

Michael's grand finale looked unlikely earlier in the day as he finished a lowly fourth in the Open race behind his arch rival Guy Martin, brother William and Derek Sheils before finishing second behind fellow Ballymoney rider Sam Wilson in the 250GP race where he rode the Cookstown BE Honda.

It appeared that his chances of retaining the feature race title were slim.

However when it came to the final 6-lap SGS International Race of Legends, Dunlop, riding his own team's 'stocker' BMW, proved when in the right frame of mind and the bike is to his liking, he is a class apart.

The significance of the race title, commemorating the fabled Armoy Armada of the 70's, featuring his late, great uncle Joey and a group of Dunlop family pals, will also have inspired him.

He quickly latched onto William's Tyco BMW back wheel and once past him set his sights on race leader Martin whom he shot past as the pair flashed over the start-finish line to begin their third lap before easing away.

Michael went on to set the day's fastest lap at 106.555mph to win by two and a half seconds from Martin with Dean Harrison a further eight seconds back in third, having relegated William to fourth on lap four.

William, on the CD/IC R6 Yamaha, clinched the Irish and Ulster Supersport road race titles, remaining unbeaten in both this season, when he raced to victory in Saturday's six lapper, a race that was started three times before being completed.

William was left on the line in the first start as the rest of the leading group sailed past him when the lights went out while he was making adjustments to his visor.

Fortunately he got a reprieve when the race was stopped on lap two due to an incident and he made no mistakes when the race eventually ran its course, winning by over two and a half seconds from Martin riding Alastair Seeley's North West 200 winning TAS Suzuki.

Mar-Train's Dean Harrison, who harried Martin throughout the race, finished just 0.034s behind in third when the chequered flag came out.

The result was a repeat of the Friday evening Supersport race which William also won.

Evergreen Dungannon rider Ryan Farquhar returned to Armoy three years after his last win at the North Antrim venue and also rode to his 12th success at the meeting when he gave the rest of the Supertwin field a lesson in setting a new class lap record of 98.106mph on his fifth and final lap.

Ryan finished a second and a half ahead of new Irish and Ulster Supertwin champion Derek McGee with two English chargers, Connor Behan and James Cowton, third and fourth.

In the 2-stroke races, there were wins for Paul Jordan and Sam Wilson in the 125GP and 250GP races respectively, while Kevin Fitzpatrick and 18-year old Adam McLean were victorious in the Senior and Junior Support races. Czech rider Michal Dokoupil was credited with the win in the Lightweight 400 cc race that was stopped on the fifth lap following the accident to local racer Ian Simpson who was airlifted to the RVH with head injuries but whose condition has thankfully improved .

Belfast Telegraph

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