Belfast Telegraph

Michael Dunlop racing to status as Armoy Legend

By Paul Lindsay

The big guns took all the major victories over the weekend at Armoy Road Races, but it was BMW-mounted Michael Dunlop who topped the timesheets with a grand final victory — taking home a £1,500 winner’s cheque in the all-important Race of Legends, which closed proceedings in the County Antrim hamlet.

The Ballymoney man has been out of sorts in the Supersport class of late, and struggled to get on terms with his brother William and his Tyco Suzuki team-mate Guy Martin, who shared the middleweight top step honours on Friday and Saturday at Armoy.

Martin went on to win the opening Superbike encounter in wet conditions and, as he explained afterwards, he was satisfied with his Armoy double and second place in the Race of Legends to Michael Dunlop.

“That was not a bad day’s work and both my Tyco Suzukis worked well in the wet and dry,” said Martin, obviously thinking ahead to the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix, which gets under way in a fortnight’s time.

“The little 600 was mint and the big bike’s chassis and set up is superb. We just need a little bit more speed for the Ulster and it’ll be mega.

“That’s the first time I’ve won around Armoy so it was nice to add a couple of wins to the big win at the Southern 100.

“In the last race I had a couple of moments and the second one was big enough to warn me, ‘right boy, time to settle for what you’ve got here’.”

Paying credit to BMW-mounted Dunlop, he concluded: “I couldn’t live with Michael out of those chicanes. There were places I was quicker and others where he was, but he did a good job to get the win. I’ve come away with the man of the meeting award, so it sets us up well for the Ulster.”

William Dunlop, who is still recovering from his double leg break during the Senior TT in June, had a great day on his stable of Tyco Suzukis, but was disappointed with his results.

“Friday night was great to take the Supersport win,” he said. “But I had no grip coming off the turns in that first Open race on Saturday or I feel I could have won it.”

Looking ahead to the Ulster, Dunlop had physiotherapy and fitness on his mind.

“I need a few more sessions with Micky Kerr, my osteopath, before the Ulster, as I started to struggle in that last race,” he said.

“But we’ve got two weeks and I’m confident we can put in a top class performance at my favourite track.”

In the Supertwins class it was Scottish ace Keith Amor who showed his quality aboard Ryan Farquhar’s KMR/SGS International 650cc Kawasaki, taking the win after a titanic battle in the opening exchanges from Mullingar’s Derek McGhee in second (1.407 sec onds behind), with North West 200 and TT ‘twins’ podium finisher James Cowton third, a further second behind.

For the second year in a row, the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team of Takumi Takahashi, Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark won the Suzuka 8 Hour Endurance Race in Japan yesterday.

Ballyclare man Jonathan Rea’s chances of a second Suzuka 8 Hour victory ended when his FCC TSR Honda team-mate Akiyoshi crashed out of the lead in the closing stages, breaking his leg.

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Takuya Tsuda, Randy de Puniet and Tyco Suzuki BSB rider Josh Waters took second place with Team Kagayama Suzuki third.

RESULTS: Bayview Hotel Moto3: Winner: Christian Elkin; 2: Paul Robinson +9.299sec; 3: Nigel Moore +9.464sec

Armoy Homes/Mermaid Club Junior Support: Winner: Sean Connelly; 2: Neil Kernohan +0.030sec; 3: Tommy Henry +4.982sec

Moyle DC Supersport: Winner: Guy Martin; 2: William Dunlop +6.600sec; 3: Keith Amor +10.783sec; 4: Derek McGhee +11.018sec; 5: Michael Dunlop +13.455sec; 6: Derek Sheils +30.657sec

Ballymoney BC Junior Classic: Winner: Barry Davidson; 2: Nigel Moore +3.293sec; 3: John Stewart

SGS International Superbike Open (*600cc machine): Winner: Guy Martin; 2: Michael Dunlop +0.820sec; 3: William Dunlop +8.718sec; 4: Dan Kneen +10.088sec; 5: *Keith Amor +12.452; 6: *Derek McGhee +15.755sec

Ballycastle Credit Union Senior Classic: Winner: Robert McCrum; 2: Martin Lyons +2.806sec; 3: Richard Ford +10.654sec

Solitude Motors/JW Hickinson 250cc: Winner: Seamus Elliott; 2: Neil Kernohan +11.904sec; 3: James Cowton +23.046sec

Roadside Garages Kia Supertwins: Winner: Keith Amor; +1.407sec; 2: Derek McGhee +1.407sec; 3: James Cowton +2.290sec

Diamond Bar 400cc/Moto450: Winner: Ian Morrell; 2: David Howard +4.367sec; 3: Vic Allan +4.602sec

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