Belfast Telegraph

Jubilant Dan Kneen celebrates ‘biggest win of career’

By Staff Reporter

Isle of Man rider Dan Kneen celebrated his first Ulster Grand Prix win after claiming victory in the Superstock race. In a thrilling finish, the 27-year-old edged out England's Dean Harrison by a mere one-thousandth of a second.

The race was red flagged on lap one due to the weather and then declared a wet race and reduced from six laps to five.

In front of a huge crowd Harrison nosed ahead from the off with Kneen, Bruce Anstey, Guy Martin, and Lee Johnston in hot pursuit.

The pattern was set with the flying trio at the front could have been covered by a blanket lap after lap swapping places regularly, Kneen quick through Deers Leap, Harrison better on the back section with Anstey seemingly playing a waiting game right in their wheel tracks.

The result went right to the wire as all three flashed across the finish line.

Kneen got the verdict from Harrison with Anstey back in third — one of the closest finishes in UGP history.

A terrific effort from local rider Stephen Thompson saw him race through from seventh to finish fourth overtaking Martin in the closing stages and holding off a challenge from Hickman.

Riding the Cookstown BE/Mark Blooms Suzuki this was Kneen’s first international road race victory.

He said: “That was a tight race. I was faster on some sections and Dean was faster on others.

“This is the biggest win of my career to date.”

A delighted Kneen added: “I used intermediates front and rear and although it was wet up the back I was able to manage the slides ok.”

Harrison commented: “Dan’s bike was faster than mine out of the corners.

“It was a tight race in some very sketchy conditions.”

A disappointed Anstey stated: “I never saw a last lap flag and thought there was still a lap to go.”

The final race of the day, prior to the decision to cancel the rest of the meeting, saw Ivan Lintin run away with the Fortuna Inns 5-lap Supertwin event; six seconds ahead at the end of the first lap and gradually easing away to a fourteen second victory when the chequered flag was unfurled.

Seemingly oblivious to the stronger wind and light drizzle also had the fastest lap at 109.841mph, 9mph slower than his Thursday afternoon fastest lap such were the conditions.

Main rival Lee Johnston was a first lap retirement while the impressive Derek McGee was a lonely second over eight seconds clear of James Cowton, who had a 12 second gap on fourth place man Christian Elkin while the UGP debut of Glenn Irwin never materialised, his machine suffering an oil leak on the warm up lap.

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