Ryan Rainey on a roll after stunning Superbike double at Kirkistown
Defending Irish champion Ryan Rainey got his season back on track after an outstanding double Superbike success yesterday at Kirkistown where the IFS Global Logistics Yamaha rider collected the feature Mayor's Trophy for his efforts.
Rainey did not get things easy though, with new Mar-Train Yamaha recruit Dan Kneen just over half a second behind in race one and in the second encounter, that Kneen led until the last lap before Rainey made the winning pass just 0.168sec split the pair.
In fact race two was a scorcher with the first four riders - Rainey, Kneen, Niki Coates and Nico Mawhinney - separated by just over half a second as they crossed the line.
Coates on the Kingsbury Packaging Kawasaki, Robert English, (Rainey's team-mate) and Mawhinney (Polaris Kawasaki) had a sterling battle in race one for the final step of the rostrum with Coates getting the nod almost two seconds behind Kneen, but a mere half a wheel ahead of English with Castledawson rider Mawhinney three-tenths back in fifth. In race two English was forced back to fifth, four seconds behind Mawhinney.
Rainey said: "It's good to get that winning feeling again. I was behind Robert in the Masters races at Mondello and at Bishopscourt on Friday, so I'm delighted to take a double win today."
For Manxman Kneen, considering he had a nasty crash in pre-season testing in Cartagena, this was a terrific start to his Mar-Train Yamaha career and a good work out ahead of his road race debut for the team at the Tandragee 100 in three weeks.
Kneen said: "Yes, an excellent first race outing with the team and a brace of seconds bodes well for the tough roads series ahead. Tim and Sonya (Martin) put so much into their racing team so it's nice to reward them with two good results."
In another classy double Upperlands rider Jason Lynn triumphed in both Supersport races during the Belfast and District meeting. Riding Walter Bell's 600cc Suzuki the 19-year-old, who has finished second in the last three Irish Supersport championships, came out on top in both races heading home Coates, Robert Kennedy, Carl Phillips and Christian Elkin in race one with Kennedy second in race two ahead of Coates, Elkin, Ross Patterson and Phillips.
Reigning champion Robert Hamilton got the defence of his Norman Watt Motorcycles Premier MX1 Ulster Motocross championship off to the perfect start yesterday, winning all three legs of the opening round at Desertmartin with Gary Gibson following him home in each race.