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McGee sets the pace as Enniskillen Road Races return after 66 years

Battle: Adam McLean (r) and Derek McGee in Supersport practice
Battle: Adam McLean (r) and Derek McGee in Supersport practice

By Roy Harris

Enniskillen Road Races return today after a 66-year absence with the showcase race the Richard Britton Memorial.

Richard, from Enniskillen, was one of Ireland's top racers who tragically lost his life in a racing accident during Ballybunion Road Races in September 2005.

In what is a non-championship event triple Irish champion Derek McGee (Kawasaki) starts as odds-on favourite for the feature race having set the fastest time of 1m 45.148s for the new three-mile Arney Circuit in yesterday's Superbike qualifying, some six seconds faster than Kevin Fitzpatrick, Thomas Maxwell and Adam McLean who were split by just half a second.

Mullingar rider McGee switched to the Supersport B&W Kawasaki and again topped the time sheets with a lap of 1m 49.050s, a second and three-quarters faster than McAdoo Kawasaki pilot McLean, who had over three seconds to spare over Fitzpatrick with Maxwell, Graham Kennedy and Robert Cairns completing the top six.

McGee, in blistering form, set four poles for all his races today, fastest in Moto3/125GP and Supertwin classes.

The last Enniskillen 100 road race was held in 1952 around a six and a quarter mile course while this latest addition to the road racing calendar takes in a 3.1mile circuit located off the Sligo Road out of Enniskillen and then taking the Swanlinbar A32 Road (post code for Sat Nav is BT92 2AB).

The title sponsor is Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for an 11-race multi-sponsored programme.

In 2012 the Enniskillen revival included a short circuit non-championship round at St Angelo airfield which then became a championship round with the Enniskillen and District Club gearing up to eventually run a road race. This goal has become reality after a lot of hard work by many, many people.

An Enniskillen and District Club spokesperson said: "Our aim was to bring back a no frills road race event to this area. We have riders coming from all over Ireland, and entries from as far afield as England and Germany.

"We have spectators here from Australia and South Africa and we are encouraging locals to come along and support this venture. We are indebted to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council coming on board."

Roads close from 10am this morning ahead of today's races, a meeting that is sure to attract a massive crowd to the only road race in the west of Northern Ireland.

A week before BSB at Knockhill, Ulsterman Andrew Irwin has been confirmed as replacement for the injured Shayne Byrne in the PBM Be Wiser Ducati team for the rest of the season, alongside his elder brother Glenn.

Andrew had been riding in the World Supersport Championship for the CIA Landlords Insurance Honda team, but has been released from his contract to take up the BSB ride.

Andrew has already stood in for Byrne at Snetterton and after an uncertain opening race at the Norfolk circuit where he skittled a few competitors on the opening lap, he bounced back in race two with a solid top 10 performance on his Superbike debut.

Dean Harrison and Michael Dunlop are set to renew their TT rivalry as they head the entry list for the 63rd Southern 100 in the Isle of Man starting on July 9.

Belfast Telegraph


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