Belfast Telegraph

Adelaide Motorcycle Awards: Race of year contest down to six of the best

By Roy Harris

The Belfast Telegraph backed Race of the Year accolade at next week’s Adelaide Motorcycle Awards is sure to have inspired much pre-event debate after many outstanding races during the 2011 season.

Now, after hours of studying vidoe re-runs, the judging panel have shortlisted six from which the winner will be announced at next Friday’s gala ball at the Shaw’s Bridge Ramada Plaza hotel.

In a breathtaking series of British Supersport races, where champion Alastair Seeley and runner-up Ben Wilson went head to head in virtually every race, the panel nominated two particular races for this category; an early season clash between the pair at Brands Hatch and the final title deciding race, also at Brands Hatch.

In the first, there was barely a lick of paint between the TAS Relentless Suzuki of Seeley and the Gearlink Kawasaki of Wilson as they battled toe to toe over every inch of tarmac. But was it bettered by the final showdown as Seeley, four points adrift of his rival and knowing he needed a top two finish, hit the front and never put a wheel wrong to take the race and the championship by a single point on the all-new GSX-R600 Suzuki.

The Ulster Grand Prix threw up some amazing racing around the 7.4mile Dundrod circuit back in August.

The second Supersport race in particular was a titanic battle between brothers Michael and William Dunlop and Australian Cameron Donald as the trio passed and re-passed down to the Hairpin Bend on the final lap. With William leading, Michael somehow found a gap to power through and take his third win of the day at the Ulster, his first ever wins around Dundrod.

World Superbike racing has two nominated races with Eugene Laverty’s final corner pass on team-mate Marco Melandri to win his second race of the day at the famous Monza Circuit in Italy. It was one of the moves of the season in his rookie year in WSB.

In the second, countryman Jonathan Rea, who had missed the middle part of the WSB season through injury, bounced back with an amazing win over Noriyuki Haga after a brilliant race at Imola.

Rea led on his Castrol Honda from the fifth lap to the chequered flag, fending off a late challenge by the Japanese rider to win by a tenth of a second and announce that he and the team were back on top and a force to be reckoned with.

Closer to home and the Adelaide Masters series at Mondello Park threw up some amazing racing with the encounters between local hero Jack Kennedy, riding the JMF Millsport Yamaha, and Cameron Donald on the Wilson Craig Honda, races to remember during the penultimate round.

Both riders were totally committed, using every inch of track and a little bit more in their efforts to see the chequered flag first.

All are worthy contenders for the title of Race of the Year, but which one will the panel of experts plump for? We’ll have to wait until the announcement at the Ramada Plaza with still a few tickets remaining for the black tie function.

Tickets can be purchased by e-mailing tickets@adelaidemotorcycleawards.com or by phoning 07584058810.

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