Belfast Telegraph

New force Dan Kneen is the man in Kells double

By Paul Lindsay

Manxman Dan Kneen was a double winner at yesterday’s Carole Nash sponsored Kells Road Races in County Meath, the Cookstown B.E Racing rider once again defying the odds as a newcomer on the National Road Racing scene, taking the plaudits in the Open and Grand Final Superbike races for John Burrows’ Dungannon based team.

Mullingar’s Derek McGhee, himself a new star between the hedges, was Kneen’s biggest threat throughout the Open race, after setting the pole position time in all four-stroke classes. But the 28-year-old came unstuck at the final corner, crashing out uninjured.

Second place went the way of another Irishman, Michael Sweeney, who then went on to take victory in the quarter litre 250cc class later in the day.

Third place in the Open race went to Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton, with Derek Shiels, Davy Morgan and Andy Kenny rounding out the top six.

McGhee picked himself up to win the Supersport race at Kells from Jamie Hamilton and James Kelly, but later retired from fifth place in the Grand Final with a suspected mechanical fault.

The Grand Final victory for Kneen and B.E Racing, makes it three this season for the Manxman as a newcomer in the race of the day. Cookstown and Tandragee were first up and having now added Kells, one wonders what he and former racer John Burrows’ team can achieve throughout the rest of the road racing campaign?

KMR Kawasaki’s Conor Behan was a last gasp victor in the Supertwins race after that man McGhee had led throughout, only being beaten by Ryan Farquhar’s young protégé on the run to the line buy a whisker.

Jamie Hamilton picked up another podium in third.

It was a disappointing day for local men Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty during round seven of the World Superbike Championship at Misano in Italy yesterday.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes extended his championship lead at the top of the table after both race wins, but Jonathan Rea – who slips one place to fourth in the table – was less than happy with his seventh and fifth placed finishes on the ailing Pata Honda.

He lamented: “It’s been a disappointing weekend for me, because it feels like we’ve made zero progress here.

“It was frustrating that we were unable to pinpoint and fix the problems. I can only ride the bike as well as it’s working, but I want to be able to race it again.

“We can’t just hope that the next round will be better. We need to evaluate what’s been going wrong and try to find some different solutions. The whole team feels like we’re under-achieving right now, so we need to do our homework and fix things as quickly as possible.”

Eugene Laverty also lost one place in the standings, slipping to ninth after his equally disappointing day at Misano with ninth and seventh placed results.

The Toomebridge man, who was riding in spite of a foot injury, said: “That was definitely not the easiest of days. In race one, while I was pushing on the footrest I felt something snap inside my foot! There was a lot of pain and I struggled to ride for the next five laps but I didn’t want to pull in.

“For the second race I sought medical attention. It’s unfortunate because I thought the foot was coming OK. It’s alright to walk on, but the break is exactly at the point I need to push on the footrest and I think I’ve done more damage now than originally. I’ll do my best to be as strong as I can be in Portimao, and hope we can get the GSX-R close to the front.”

Dungannon’s Ryan Farquhar took three wins and a brace of second placed finishes over the weekend at the Barry Sheen Road Race Festival at Scarborough. Bradford’s Dean Harrison also took three wins and the Barry Sheene Trophy Race victory for his efforts, with Ivan Lintin, from Bardney in Lincolnshire, also enjoying three top steps at the Oliver’s Mount Circuit.

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