Michael Dunlop happy with his Southern 100 success
Michael Dunlop got his Southern 100 under way with a dominant 10-second victory in the Corlett's Trophies Senior Solo Founders 600/1000cc race last night on the Isle of Man.
With reigning Southern 100 champion Guy Martin still unsure of his return to racing after taking on the 4,000km Tour Divide Mountain Bike challenge in the Canadian Rockies, Dunlop's main competition this week was expected to come from Silicone Racing's Dean Harrison.
Unfortunately for Harrison, he crashed out on the opening lap last night - forcing a red flag - and didn't restart on the Silicone Engineering ZX10R Kawasaki.
Instead, Dunlop's main challengers were Ivan Lintin and Dan Kneen, who was making his return to action for Mar-Train Racing having missed the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT through injury.
Dunlop's lead at the end of lap one was over four seconds, which had grown to double figures when he took the chequered flag at the end of lap six around the 4.25-mile stone-wall-lined Billown circuit ahead of Lintin and Kneen.
Speaking afterwards, a nonchalant Dunlop explained: "That was a good run. We've worked hard to find a base setting and have had a few problems.
"We put in a good first lap, and I pushed on and was able to cruise after that."
Giving credit to the promoting Southern 100 Club, he added: "The track is in perfect condition and there's a great crowd out there standing behind the hedges."
Lintin, who came home in second, said afterwards: "I enjoyed it out there but it's hard work around here on a big bike.
"Once I got past Dan I thought I might be able to extend the gap on him, but he hung in."
Manxman Kneen was delighted with third place in what was his first road race back since the Tandragee, after he picked up injuries in a mountain bike crash prior to the North West 200.
Kneen said: "It's really good to be back. Third place in my first race back... I'm very happy with that.
"The Mar-Train Yamaha was working great and I'm just glad I was able to race as my wrist was giving me a few problems yesterday, but a bit of physio sorted it out."
The second race last night, the Station Garage Junior Solo Founders for 125cc/400cc/450cc machines, was won by Ballymoney's Darryl Tweed, a newcomer to the Billown circuit.
Tonight's action gets under way at 6.20pm with the Ellan Vannin Fuels Senior race, followed by the Kerruish Plumbing & Heating 250cc/650cc race. Action concludes with the Radcliffe Butchers 600 race and the Ace Hire Formula 2 Sidecar race.