Crowd-pleaser Michael Sweeney toasted his second Irish road racing treble of the season with a dominant hat-trick at the Country Crest Skerries 100 yesterday.
The Republic of Ireland rider has now set his sights on winning the Superbike title for the first time after increasing his lead at the top of the standings.
Sweeney, who had a lucky escape after a high-speed crash in practice at the Isle of Man TT last month, won both Superbike races at the 2.92-mile course in County Dublin yesterday on his MJR BMW.
He also stormed to a commanding triumph in the Supertwin race on his Kawasaki.
“The Superbike title is the one I want this year,” Sweeney said.
“It’d be nice to get that one, but it’s never going to be easy. The big bike is going well after we had a few handling issues with it at the TT.
“I’ve had a four-timer before at the national races (at Killalane in 2019) but I’d never managed a hat-trick in the north before until we did it at Cookstown.
“It’s nice to get a few wins on the board for all my sponsors and the lads for all the effort they put into me.”
Starting from pole, Sweeney always had the upper hand in the Open Superbike race as he opened his account yesterday in style, closing out victory by two seconds from Cork’s Mike Browne (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki) after seven laps.
Darryl Tweed, riding a 600 Honda for the Wilson Craig Racing team, finished in third, half-a-minute back. James Chawke and Mullingar man Thomas Maxwell rounded out the top five, with Damian Horan in sixth. Sweeney doubled up in the Supertwin race on his Kawasaki, cruising to his second success of the weekend by 13 seconds from fellow southern Irishman Eoin O’Siochru in the five-lap race.
However, the man of the moment had to settle for second best in a scintillating Supersport race after battling all the way with Browne.
The pair, both riding Yamaha R6 machinery, pulled well clear of Tweed in third as they fought it out for the win, with Browne — back at an Irish national road race for the first time since he broke his ankles in a crash at the Cookstown 100 in April – holding on to win by just under three tenths of a second on the final lap.
Ballymoney man Tweed was 14 seconds in arrears in third.
Browne bagged a double with a textbook ride on the Burrows Honda in the Moto3/125GP race by four seconds from O’Siochru.
However, it was Sweeney who had the final say when it came to the headline Grand Final Superbike race, which was cut to five laps after a non-serious red-flag incident.
The local man shot into the lead and never looked back, easing clear on each lap to win by four seconds from Browne, with the consistent Tweed again taking the chequered flag in third.
Meanwhile, 21-time TT winner Michael Dunlop’s debut at Imatra in Finland proved a frustrating venture after the Ballymoney rider failed to register a finish in any of the three Superbike races.
Dunlop was plagued by machine issues on the Penz13.com Honda at the IRRC round and will now be aiming to make amends at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, which takes place on the Billown course next week from July 11-14.