Treble winner Michael Dunlop adds new page to Dunlop legend
Michael Dunlop swept all before him at Armoy Road Races on Saturday, racing to a treble including winning the Roadside Kia Race of Legends for an incredible seventh year in succession and, to keep it in the family, his brother William finished in second position in the pair's backyard.
Given all the Dunlop history in the area, this was quite a remarkable feat.
On a day of intermittent showers making the three-mile track treacherous at times and the paddock a sea of mud, Michael was master of the conditions.
Firstly, after an overnight bike rebuild, he raced from the fourth row of the grid on his MD Yamaha to catch and pass race leader Derek McGee to win the Bayview Supersport race by over three seconds from the Mullingar man with McAdoo Kawasaki runner James Cowton in third with a sensational course debut in fourth from Davey Todd, given the dodgy drying conditions on the track.
For the Superbike race the track was damp, but it didn't hinder Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki, taking command to run out four and a half second winner over the B&W Site Sealant 600cc Kawasaki of McGee, with Todd on the 600cc Longshot Kawasaki in third and William Dunlop fourth with the IMR Evolution Camping BMW of Paul Jordan right on his back wheel in fifth.
Michael simply destroyed the opposition in the Race of Legends over seven laps of a by now mainly dry track setting the fastest lap of the meeting of 103.379mph on his third lap, taking the chequered flag over 12 and a half seconds clear of the Temple Golf Club Yamaha of William with Michael Sweeney in third.
"I'm happy to have won this particular race once again," Michael said. "It was good to get miles on the Bennetts Suzuki prior to the Ulster Grand Prix, because we are still learning with it. Conditions weren't great all day, but they were the same for everyone and we had a good day."
Joseph Loughlin dominated both Support races, winning the Junior event by 45 seconds on his G2 Tech 650cc Kawasaki from Scottish visitor Marc Ironside and Bangor's Glenn Walker before powering thevisorshop.com 600cc Yamaha to a 10 second victory in Senior Support over Adam Lyon from Scotland and David Howard.
Christian Elkin won his fourth Armoy 125/Moto3 race on Bob Wylie's 250cc Honda with the 125GP Mark Hanna Honda of Adam McLean in second and Paul Robinson third on his CB Moto3 Honda.
The closest finish of the day came in the Clyde Shanks Supertwin race where McGee eventually won from Cowton and McLean with a second covering them as they flashed past the chequered flag.
Neil Kernohan won the Lightweight Supersport and 250GP race on his Logan Honda three seconds clear of the 400cc M&D Racing Kawasaki of Darryl Tweed while Ed Manly took his G50 Seeley to overall victory in the Classic race.
Overall, it was a triumph for the organising Armoy Club, who dealt with everything Mother Nature threw at them and for competitors who had to deal with the always changing track conditions.
Meanwhile there will be celebrations in the Irwin Household after Graeme clinched the British MX1 motocross championship yesterday at Preston Docks on his Buildbase Honda.
Irwin won both races at Preston to take his sixth race victory in succession to take an unassailable lead in the championship, the first major success in this series since Gordon Crockard won it in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
The jubilant Carrickfergus rider said: "My main focus for the year has been this championship. It has took a lot of hard work to get here and to take the title in the way I did; it was just the perfect day."
Team mate Martin Barr was third overall in the MX2 class after a 4-4 finish in his two races.