Belfast Telegraph

Titles are up for grabs on a Super Mondello weekend

By Roy Harris

As Jonathan Rea lines up at Magny Cours on Saturday afternoon in his bid to create history by becoming the first rider to claim three successive World Superbike Championships, the best of local short circuit riders will be taking to the 2.2-mile international track at Mondello Park for the final Masters Superbike Championship meeting.

It is a far cry from the French track, but the action will also be fast and furious as there are titles to be won and lost at the two-day meeting, which will see one Championship race on Saturday afternoon and the final two on Sunday.

All eyes will be on the Superbike and Supersport races, where both titles will be fought out by two riders, although there are plenty of others who could have a say in the destination of each of the Championships.

There are 75 points available this weekend and in the Superbike class it is a straight fight between Kilkenny's Richie Ryan and Ballycastle rider Charles Stuart, both riding R1 Yamahas. Ryan is currently leading by 48 points.

Ryan was never off the podium in the first 11 races of the scheduled 20-race series, racking up five wins in a row, three second places and two fourths with all going to plan.

Since then, however, only four of the scheduled six races have taken place thanks to heavy rain and generally poor Irish summer weather, with Ryan experiencing a dramatic drop in points with a sixth, a crash, a seventh and an eighth, while Parker Transport rider Stuart scored two firsts and two thirds in the four races to close the gap on his rival.

Yes, Ryan still has an advantage, but when you consider that riders like Luke Johnston, Mark Glasgow, Gerard Kinghan, Peter Moloney and Mark O'Byrne will all be chasing end-of-season victories at the Kildare circuit, nothing can be taken for granted.

The Supersport class also carries the Masters tag and again it is a two-rider shoot-out with Jason Lynn, who recently won the David Wood Memorial Trophy at Bishopscourt, versus Ross Patterson, both recording six victories each in the 16 races to date.

Lynn, on his Walter Bell Suzuki, is on 319 points and Patterson, on the Kingsbury Packaging Kawasaki, sits just 10 behind. This one could well go to the wire as the likes of Aaron Clifford, Korie McGreevy, Eunan McGlinchey, Raymond Casey and - if it's wet - Kia McGreevy will do all in their power to upset the two title chasers. McGlinchey, who hails from Aghadowey, has been the revelation of short circuit racing this campaign and has already secured the Supersport Cup title with three races to spare.

That's after taking an impressive seven victories, six seconds and a sixth-place finish in the 14 races he has finished.

On a near standard Suzuki, McGlinchey has had some incredible results this season, fighting at the front of most Supersport races with far more experienced riders.

Nineteen-year-old McGlinchey has shown his versatility by taking the Production Twin title with 15 wins from 16 races, and again hounded and beat on numerous occasions the Supertwin title contenders Dave Butler and Derek Wilson in the Manx Grand Prix Newcomers 'B' race just over a month ago. Two days of fast and furious action are guaranteed at Mondello with Masters champions sure to be crowned.

• Josh Elliott is to ride a Tyco BMW Superbike at Assen this weekend, replacing fellow Ulsterman Andy Reid following his accident at Silverstone in which he suffered a broken leg ruling him out for the final five races in the series.

Elliott, Tyco BMW's Superstock rider, also stood in for the team's lead Superbike Christian Iddon earlier in the season when he was injured.

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