Kirk double heads up a Super day at St Angelo
Doubles were the order of the day during the ninth and penultimate round of the AJ Plumbing Ulster Superbike Championship held around the 1.208mile St Angelo Airfield circuit outside Enniskillen on Saturday.
Alistair Kirk on his McCurry Motorsport BMW took the opening Superbike race comfortably, some 10 seconds clear of Aaron Armstrong (Connolly Suzuki) with local rider Paul Gartland on his North West Gas Kawasaki two seconds back in third.
However, in the second 10-lap race it was a much closer affair as Armstrong set the fastest lap of the race at 73.443mph, three laps from the end, to close in on Kirk although the Dromara rider held off the challenge to win by just over a 10th of a second with Ryan Gibson getting the better of Gartland for third, four seconds in arrears of Armstrong.
Gerard Kinghan, who clinched the Superbike title at the last round, was a non-starter on Saturday.
Upperlands rider Jason Lynn clinched the Supersport championship in style with a tremendous double on his Walter Bell R6 Yamaha although he was made to fight all the way in both races.
Simon Reid, son of former World Champion Brian, rode superbly in the first 10-lap race to finish a second behind Lynn at the chequered flag and set a new Cup lap record on the visorshop.com Triumph with the Magic Bullet Yamaha of Mark Conlin two seconds further back in third.
In the 8-lap second race, Lynn, with the fastest lap of the meeting at 73.646mph, again emerged triumphant, but his winning margin was reduced to a quarter of a second over Conlin with Christian Elkin, consolidating second position in the championship, edging Aaron Armstrong for third by 0.217 seconds.
Reid had to settle for fifth this time around, but still first Cup runner beating his earlier lap record by a 10th of a second leaving it at 72.857mph.
Gary McCoy, from Cookstown, picked up a comfortable double in the Supertwin races to clinch the Ulster championship while Adam Crooks and Shane Sweeney shared the concurrently run Production Twin events.
McCoy went on to finish second and third in the Lightweight Supersport races, both won by Manx Grand Prix double winner Darryl Tweed.
Ryan Farquhar protégé Cameron Dawson and Jonny Campbell were closely matched in the Junior Cup races, Dawson taking race one by a second from Campbell, the positions reversed in race two, half a second separating them.
Andrew Brady and Johnny Aiken shared the Pre-Injection honours while Paul Robinson dominated Moto3.
Meanwhile the Irish Motocross des Nation team of Martin Barr, Gary Gibson and Richard Bird put in terrific displays in their qualifying races on Saturday to go straight through as one of the 20 best teams to contest the world pinnacle of motocross racing at Red Bud in Michigan, USA last night. Under team manager Phillip McCullough, this would have been the pre-event target for the team with their two best results taking them to 13th out of 30 competing nations.
In MX2 Barr finished 15th, Gibson was 14th in MXGP and Bird 23rd in MX Open against the world's best exponents of motocross.
Last night they ended up in 14th position overall after three exhausting races in sticky, muddy conditions. Top points scorer was Barr with two 17th position finishes on his MX 2 Revo Husqvarna in his two races against world class fields of 40 riders earning him seventh best MX2 rider at the event.
France won the event for the fifth year in succession two points clear of Italy with the Netherlands a further four points back in third.
- The first ever Thailand Grand Prix turned into a thriller with just three tenths of a second splitting the top three, but it was Marc Marquez on the top step to take another step towards the 2018 MotoGP crown.
Repsol Honda rider Marquez started on pole but slipped behind Valentino Rossi on lap four and then, after the Movistar Yamaha rider lost ground on lap 11, it was Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso who went ahead with Marquez sitting in second.
As the laps began to tick down it became a battle between Dovizioso and Marquez for the victory. Marquez tried to reclaim the lead with four laps left but ran wide on turn three and the Italian nipped back in.
The leading pair crossed the line together with third-placed Maverick Vinales of Movistar Yamaha just 0.270 seconds off Marquez, who could now wrap up the title at Honda's home race in Motegi later this month after a seventh victory of the season.