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Kneen is sure he can move up the gears at Tandragee

By Paul Lindsay

Published 23/04/2016

Leading the way: Dan Kneen en route last night to taking pole position for the Superbike race at the Tandragee 100
Leading the way: Dan Kneen en route last night to taking pole position for the Superbike race at the Tandragee 100

Manxman Dan Kneen took pole position for today's feature Superbike race at the Around-A-Pound Tandragee 100 and is feeling confident of upping his game even further on the Mar-Train Racing R1 Yamaha at the County Armagh circuit.

Speaking from the Tandragee paddock, the former Irish Road Race Superbike champion said: "Tandragee is always a good gauge for bike set-up and after feeling my way in the opening session and tweaking a few bits and pieces, I think we are close to where we need to be."

With Dubliner Derek Sheils beside him on the front row with his former team Cookstown B.E Racing - and record-breaking Dungannon ace Ryan Farquhar in third place on the TAS Racing supported IEG BMW - it could be some race, and that is exactly what Kneen is hoping for.

"I think William (Dunlop) is on pole for the first Open race and we are beside him on the grid, but with Derek and Ryan beside me for the big race I can't see it being easy to make a break," explained Kneen.

Kneen went on to qualify third in the Supersport 600 class behind William Dunlop, who was in a different league to his rivals on the CD-IC Yamaha R6, with newcomer Malachi Mitchell Thomas, a treble winner at Mid Antrim, in third.

Farquhar took pole position in the respective Supertwin and 450cc classes, but spent most of the early evening on his phone looking for set-up advice for his big BMW.

Farquhar explained: "I had a bit of a problem in the first qualifying session on the BMW and had to make a phone call to the TAS boys at Oulton Park.

"Once I had it sorted, it was a different bike and I think I'm only just over a second behind Kneen and not far off Sheils, and they are both running Superbikes.

"I need more time on the BMW and there are a few things that I will need to change after Tandragee, but it's certainly some piece of kit."

Sheils is well noted for being a man of few words, but he did say of his second place on the Superbike grid, sandwiched in between Kneen and Farquhar: "Fair play to Dan, he put in a good lap out there and Ryan is also going well.

"It should be an interesting race."

Roads close at 10am this morning with the McCrum's Motorcycles Open race a sure bet to whet the fans' appetite for a great day's racing in the scheduled nine-race programme of events.

Ballymoney's William Dunlop is the pole setter on an MSS Kawasaki.

Belfast Telegraph

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