McGee makes splash in rain as Dunlop has Legends in sights
The first Supersport contest of the Roadside Kia Race of Legends meeting in Armoy yesterday was shaping up to be a thriller, only for red flags to come out and halt the race early due to a rain shower and oil spillage.
The result was declared on three laps giving victory to Mullingar's Derek McGee riding the B&W Site Sealants Kawasaki for the very first time, with circuit newcomer Davy Todd, from Cleveland, on his Longshot Kawasaki sensationally less than a second behind McGee with Christian Elkin third.
Michael Dunlop had been on McGee's back wheel, but it was his Yamaha that cried enough going into Armoy and his race was run.
The first start of the race had been red flagged when two riders collided in Armoy Village, but they were quickly on their feet, back on their bikes and underway again.
McGee swept into the lead of the re-started race from pole position with Dunlop right on his back wheel at the end of the opening lap having come from the fourth row of the grid before his major blow up, and a lot of midnight oil will have been burned if he is to start today's Supersport race
One and a half seconds behind Todd was Elkin, with James Cowton, Michael Sweeney and another newcomer, Joey Thompson, completing the top six.
A disappointment was the absence of William Dunlop from the race, as his R6 Yamaha is undergoing a rebuild prior to next month's MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
There was a shock in yesterday's only other race, the Senior Support, where Joseph Loughlin tasted defeat for the first time this season, to Scottish debutant Adam Lyon, who surprisingly came through from the second group of riders to beat Loughlin by 3.135secs on corrected time with David Howard a further three and a half seconds back in third and another Scottish visitor, Marc Ironside from Aberdeenshire, in fourth.
Earlier Michael Dunlop dominated qualifying for today's feature Roadside Kia Race of Legends on drying roads by setting the fastest speed of the day at 101.603mph, the only rider to top the 'ton' on his Bennetts Suzuki. He holds the current lap record at 106.812mph set in 2013.
William Dunlop was the second fastest Superbike rider on his Temple Golf Club Yamaha, but was over five seconds behind his brother, lapping at 96.946mph with McGee on a Kawasaki lapping at 96.021mph to complete the front row of the grid.
Michael will be looking for his seventh consecutive victory at the Race of Legends and on his qualifying form it is hard to look past the 15-time TT winner on home ground, provided he has no more mechanical failures.
On damp roads Loughlin set the fastest speed for Junior Support machines with a mark of 92.269mph, just over two seconds faster than Ironside with Glenn Walker in third position.
Up and coming Adam McLean set the pace in the 125/Moto3 session on his Mark Hanna 125cc Honda at 85.344mph, a fraction of a second ahead of Elkin on his Bob Wylie Moto3 Honda, while in the Supertwin race today Gortreagh Printing rider Cowton starts from pole with McGee and McLean beside him on the front row.
Roads close today at 10am ahead of three parade laps and the nine-race programme.