Dunlop boys are weather beaters in Skerries rain
The Dunlop brothers, William and Michael, took wins apiece during Saturday's 70th running of the AXA Bikecare sponsored Skerries 100 Road Races in County Dublin. But the name on most people's lips and minds was Doctor John Hinds, who sadly lost his life at last year's event whilst performing his voluntary role on the 'flying doctors' team.
Unfortunately the event was beset by mixed weather conditions, with the Grand Final being cancelled on safety grounds in a downpour, but the racing that did take place was of the highest quality.
Michael Dunlop was a late entrant, much to the delight of the County Dublin crowd who got to see the double Isle of Man TT Superbike winner take his MD Racing BMW Superstock machine to the Open class win.
Reigning Irish Supersport Road Race champion William Dunlop was, as expected, untouchable in the 600cc class aboard his IC Racing/Caffrey Transport R6. In saying that, he was kept honest throughout the Kennedy Motorcycles 600cc Championship race by Mullingar's Derek McGee, who was just 0.3sec down on the Ballymoney man after seven laps of the Skerries circuit.
Open class winner Michael Dunlop was third in the 600cc class aboard his MD Racing Yamaha, which he will no doubt be looking to get on-song before the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix next month.
Cookstown B.E Racing Honda mounted Derek Sheils, Magherafelt's Paul Jordan and local ace Michael Sweeney filled the minor top six placings.
Double winner from 2015, Derek Sheils, took second place in The Des D'Arcy Motors Open Championship race on his Cookstown B.E Racing Suzuki behind 13-time Isle of Man TT winner Dunlop, just over half a second down.
Dunlop's fastest lap was almost two seconds quicker than the next best set by Sheils, but the Ballymoney man had his work cut out and only hit the front on the final lap.
His brother William took third place on the McManus Brothers' YZF-R1 Yamaha Superbike, ahead of Alan Bonner, Michael Sweeney and BMW mounted Derek McGee.
With the Grand Final was cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions, Sheils and the Dunlop brothers led riders in a parade lap, which was a respectful gesture from all competitors to the large crowd who lined the County Dublin circuit.
Classsic winners on the day were Jeff Ward (250cc class) and Barry Davidson (350cc class). Saintfield's Davy Morgan was the 250cc winner in the concurrently run Ollie's Place & McNally 250/400cc Championship race. Ballymoney's Seamus Elliott was the 400cc class winner.
Michael Sweeney was the 650cc Supertwin winner, from Derek Sheils and Paul Jordan; Michael Weldon was the 401-750cc Support class winner and Adam McLean took the 125cc class top step.
This weekend, former 250cc Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams will make a return to the British Superbike Championship, where he will join EHA Racing in the National Superstock 1000cc class at Snetterton.
The 52-year-old Glengormey rider is filling in for the injured Ben Wilson, who broke his femur in an incident at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May.
McWilliams, who took a debut win on the Aprilia during a Thundersport round at Oulton Park on Saturday, is also understood to be considering a return to Armoy Road Races at the end of July, riding a Supertwin for KMR Kawasaki.