Belfast Telegraph

Dunlop agony as Harrison enjoys quartet of victories

 

Speed star: Michael Dunlop slides off yesterday at the Southern 100
Speed star: Michael Dunlop slides off yesterday at the Southern 100
Dean Harrison celebrates winning the 600cc race
Tight battle: Jamie Coward and Michael Sweeney at Castletown Corner during the Southern 100 600cc race

By Roy Harris

Dean Harrison put on a masterclass of road racing at the Southern 100 with an incredible four-timer on the Isle of Man.

The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki ace's quartet of victories yesterday made it six for the week after his double on Wednesday evening.

But while it was joy for Harrison, there was pain for Michael Dunlop.

The Ballymoney man high-sided at the end of the second lap in the Senior race on his Tyco BMW and, although not initially thought to be seriously injured, it transpired that he had broken his pelvis.

It means that he will be out of action for some considerable time and surely has no chance of making it to the Ulster Grand Prix next month.

Harrison, though, was unstoppable as he raced to his third Hunts Solo Championship victory in a row.

He got yesterday off to a winning start in the S&S Motors 600cc race in which Dunlop was a non-starter. Michael Evans led for two laps before Harrison moved ahead from Jamie Coward, with Evans back to third.

Despite Coward setting the fastest lap of the race at 108.003mph on the last lap, he could not make a pass on Harrison, who won by a quarter of a second. Michael Sweeney was a fine third.

Harrison was on another level, taking the Senior with a massive wheelie past the chequered flag some 14 seconds ahead of Sam West and Coward.

After lunch, Harrison took his third victory of the day in the second Supersport race by two and a half seconds from Coward, with Skerries man Sweeney taking his second podium again in third. Harrison set the fastest lap of 109.470mph.

When it came to the Solo Championship Race over nine laps, Harrison had a two-second lead at the end of lap one.

It was already five seconds at the end of lap two and he extended it lap by lap to win by some 18 seconds from Ryan Kneen, Rob Hodson and West nose to tail as they took the chequered flag.

It was Harrison's 24th Southern 100 victory, taking him into a clear third position in the all-time winners' list behind Ian Lougher and Joey Dunlop.

"What a week, the Silicone Engineering Kawasakis never missed a beat. To be honest, I had the best Superbike out there, it was brilliant," said a delighted Harrison.

"Once ahead in the races I put my head down for a couple of laps and then controlled things. I backed off a good bit in the Championship race with three laps to go and was short-shifting to save the bike.

"I would have liked Michael to have been in there and I hope he is alright after his off."

Sweeney went one better in the 250/650cc race by finishing second behind Dominic Herbertson.

"I'm stuck for words. Last night the bike just wouldn't go then today it never missed a beat. I'm over the moon, as I'm still learning around here," said Sweeney.

Kells rider Denis Booth hadn't won a race at the Southern 100 for some 10 years, but yesterday won two back-to-back in taking the 600cc B race and the Corlett Solo Founders race.

"These young boys are getting quicker and I need to be a bit more aggressive out of corners. I just got my head down and chipped away. It was hard work back-to-back for an old boy like me," he commented.

The Sidecar Championship race saw Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley take the win.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Rea, after his hugely successful Donington Park treble in the World Superbike races last weekend, heads to Laguna Seca in California for round nine of the series with a 24-point lead.

Practice gets under way this evening, with three races over tomorrow and Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph

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