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Tandragee 100: Michael Sweeney is the man to beat after roaring to a hat-trick of pole positions

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Hat-trick hero: Michael Sweeney was fastest in three classes at Tandragee. Credit: Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press International

Hat-trick hero: Michael Sweeney was fastest in three classes at Tandragee. Credit: Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press International

Hat-trick hero: Michael Sweeney was fastest in three classes at Tandragee. Credit: Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press International

Man of the moment Michael Sweeney continued his fine run of form with a pole position treble at the 60th anniversary Tandragee 100 yesterday.

The Republic of Ireland rider will head up the front row in the Superbike, Supersport and Supertwin races today at the north Armagh meeting, which returns for the first time since 2019.

Sweeney stole the show at last weekend’s Cookstown 100 in Co Tyrone as he began the Irish road racing season in style, chalking up a hat-trick.

The Skerries man won both Superbike races on his MJR BMW and the Supertwin event at the Orritor course, and Sweeney has put himself in a strong position to earn more silverware today.

He secured the top spot in Superbike, qualifying by 0.6s, with a lap of 105.75mph, ahead of fellow southern Irishman Derek Sheils, who is competing in his first road race of the season after sitting out the Cookstown 100 to contest the opening round of the Dunlop Masters Superbike series at Mondello Park.

Sheils, riding the Roadhouse Macau BMW, was 3.9s clear of Westmeath rider Thomas Maxwell on his Kawasaki in third.

Sweeney said: “I’m looking forward to Tandragee and we’ll just do what we can do, and give it 100%.

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“It wouldn’t be the most favourable track for me but we’ll go and do the best we can do.

“I’m looking forward to racing against Derek (Sheils) again because there’s no nonsense from him and we both know what each other is going to do.”

Sweeney also set the pace in the Supersport session on his Yamaha with a speed of 103.104mph to take pole by 1.8s from Czech rider Michal ‘Indy’ Dokoupil.

Dominic Herbertson was third fastest on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha, 1.5s further back, with Maxwell slotting into fourth.

Herbertson is a guest rider for John Burrows’ team this weekend after Cork’s Mike Browne sustained two broken ankles in a crash in the opening Superbike race at Cookstown.

Browne has been ruled out of the North West 200 and is a doubt for the Isle of Man TT.

Dokoupil will also compete for the Dungannon team at Tandragee in the Moto3/125GP class on a Honda 250.

Team owner Burrows said: “Obviously this is a less than ideal situation at the very start of the season.

“I’m gutted for Mike to have the accident and after three years in the team he has become more like family than just a rider.

“After speaking to him and Charlotte Richardson from RK Racing and my sponsors this week, I’m going to continue to run the team until Mike is fit again with his approval.”

McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam McLean won the Supersport race at the Cookstown 100 but was ruled out of Tandragee after suffering a concussion in a crash in the headline Superbike event at his home meeting.

McLean, though, will return for the Cookstown-based team at the North West 200 from May 10-14.

In the Supertwin class, Sweeney was fastest overall by almost three seconds from Banbridge man Shaun Anderson, who was the leading rider in the Supermono class on his Kramer 690.

Fan favourite Guy Martin was second fastest on his BSA 750 in Senior Classic qualifying, 1.6s down on Andy Hornby.

Roads close this morning at 9.30am for a nine-race programme and will re-open no later than 7pm this evening.


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