Guy Martin has Ulster Grand Prix glory firmly in his sights
Guy Martin sparkled despite practice for the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix being abandoned due to variable visibility with three sessions remaining. Martin (Tyco BMW) unofficially set a lap speed of 116.123mph, just over a second faster than Conor Cummins.
Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston explained: “Ninety per cent of the course was okay, however the 10 per cent at the highest point around Tornagrough, the visibility was just too variable to continue.
“With a better forecast it was decided to abandon the rest of the sessions on safety grounds.”
Earlier in damp conditions and poor visibility the first Superbike session was declared a free practice with this morning’s session being used for grid positions for this afternoon’s Dundrod 150 and Saturday’s UGP Superbike races.
Despite the conditions Martin’s lap speed of 116.123mph (the record being 133.977mph) on his seventh lap was just over a second faster than Manxman Cummins (Honda) with the second Tyco BMW of William Dunlop third at 114.629mph set on his fourth lap.
Russ Mountford, Ian Hutchinson and Keith Amor completed the top six.
In this free session fancied runners Ivan Lintin was seventh, Dean Harrison ninth, Bruce Anstey 11th and Michael Dunlop 14th.
All Superbike runners will be looking for favourable conditions this morning ahead of the official qualifying session.
Popular Englishman Martin, riding the BMW for the first time at Dundrod, said: “The bike was spot on. It was the correct decision to run it as a free session and wait for tomorrow. It’s the same for everybody at the end of the day.”
Scotsman Amor, fastest in the early laps before ending up sixth, added: “I was quite happy out there early on before the rest of the guys came in and changed from wets to intermediate tyres while I stuck with the wet.
“I was spinning it up so much the rear tyre was destroyed. There was a dryish line appearing, but if you strayed off it then it was very wet.
“It was the visibility that was the biggest problem — one lap it was clear all the way round, the next up around Tornagrough it was very poor,” he said.
In the qualifying that did take place, British Supersport contender Glenn Irwin (Gearlink Kawasaki), on only his second appearance at Dundrod, set the fastest lap for the Dundrod 150 National and Challenge class with a speed of 109.283mph, half a second ahead of James Cowton, with the best of the newcomers Lisburn’s Timothy Elwood (108.165mph) in third position two seconds behind Cowton.
Dundrod resident Robert Kennedy was fourth fastest ahead of newcomer Forest Dunn and Dean Campbell.
Horst Saiger, on his debut at Dundrod and riding for Ian Lougher Kawasaki, was 20th at 101.587mph.
Of the four female competitors in this class, American Patrica Fernandez was fastest with a lap speed of 91.854mph on what was her second visit to Dundrod.
In the opening timed session of the afternoon for Lightweight and Ultra-Lightweight machines, Welsh rider Paul Owen (250cc Honda) set the fastest time on his fourth lap with a speed of 100.975mph, two one hundredths of a second clear of the 400cc Yamaha of Seamus Elliott, whose speed of 100.965mph was set on his seventh and final lap of the 30 minute session.
The first Ultra Lightweight machine was that of Christian Elkin on a Moto3 Honda, going around at 100.726mph, third fastest overall, with Neil Kernohan (250cc Honda) the only other rider over 100mph, third overall in the Lightweight class.