Ballymoney race ace Michael Dunlop has his sights set on North West 200 glory after posting serious notice of his intentions at the Around-A-Pound Tandragee 100 on Saturday.
The 22-year-old enjoyed two sensational record-breaking victories, beating arch-rival and previously undefeated this season Ryan Farquhar into second position in both the Superbike and Supersport races.
Seeing off the Dungannon racer brought a big smile to the north Antrim man’s face and he’ll hope to be beaming again at the Triangle in a fortnight’s time.
“To beat Ryan is no mean feat, he’s the top man,” said Dunlop.
“ It was particularly pleasing to get the new Superbike working so well on its first appearance. We’ve spent a lot of money on it and it is rewarding to do the business on it.
“Two wins and two lap records sets us up well for the North West.”
Both riders became the first ever to lap the 5.3mile circuit in under three minutes such was the intensity of the competition that saw them over 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Dunlop’s first victory came on his Street Sweep Paul Bird Motorsport prepared Kawasaki in the Superbike race, the first time this particular machine had been raced in anger, both he and Farquhar (KMR Kawasaki) smashing the existing track lap record time after time.
Dunlop held off Farquhar’s efforts to record his first Ulster road race win in the Superbike class with the new absolute track record of 109.297mph.
John Burrows took advantage of the penultimate lap retirement of Adrian Archibald to secure third spot 37 seconds adrift of Dunlop and Farquhar.
The Supersport race was equally combative with Farquhar and Dunlop swapping the lead numerous times and smashing the class lap record, with the result of the race going down to the final bend on the final lap.
Dunlop took the inside line and with Farquhar over braking and running wide Dunlop eased over the finish line 1.8secs ahead with a new lap record of 108.367mph in the bag. Archibald finished third some 34 seconds in arrears.
Dunlop was denied the opportunity to go for a hat-trick of wins when the feature Tandragee 100 race was cancelled on safety ground following a heavy rain shower after the riders had completed two warm-up laps.
Farquhar was also a double winner taking his customary wins in the Moto450 and Supertwin classes while his new KMR Kawasaki team-mate in this class Adrian Archibald set a new lap record for the Supertwin as he closed to within a tenth of a second of his team leader when the chequered flag came out.
William Dunlop claimed a two-stroke double winning both the 125GP and 250GP races by 2.2secs. Ronan Pentony and Gary Miller shared the junior and senior support race wins with James McCann winning the 400cc race and Mark Morgan the classic event.