BAYVIEW HOTEL ARMOY ROAD RACES: RACE DAY REVIEW
Derek McGee produced a high-calibre display of road racing at the Bayview Hotel Armoy Road Races to score three victories and in doing so was named the ‘Man of the Meeting’.
The ‘Mullingar Missile’ got his weekend underway with a thrilling victory in Friday’s Supersport race which saw both he and Paul Jordan tussle for the victory throughout the duration and of the encounter. Both riders crossed the line together with McGee winning by a minuscule 0.002s.
McGee also run out the victor in the 125/Moto3 race after a dominant following a dominant performance onboard the Faraldo Racing machine. The margin of victory was 20s over second place man Gary Dunlop with Melissa Kennedy grabbing the final podium spot.
McGee then secured his hat-trick in the Supersport race finishing five seconds clear of fellow countryman Michael Sweeney with Derek Sheils rounding out the podium places.
In the day’s only Supertwin race it was McGee who started in pole onboard the KMR Kawasaki but he ran into mechanical trouble one lap from home handing the victory to Andy Farrell who proved to be hugely popular winner. Farrell finished seven seconds ahead of Neil Kernohan with Banbridge rider Steven McKnight finishing third.
In the Junior Support race championship leader Vinny Brennan took another well deserved win a runaway victory over Dominic Cottrell who finished second. Newcomer Ryan Fenton took a well deserved third place. Fenton was to go one better in the Senior Support class as he took snatched victory over Andy McAllister by a mere one tenth of a second. Tommy Henry, a winner in Friday’s Senior Support race, finished in third place.
There was a win for Neil Kernohan in the lightweight support class as he finished seven seconds ahead of second place rider Kris Duncan. David Howard was in third place.
In the classic stakes the races were won by Barry Davidson (350cc and 500cc), Brian Mateer (250cc) and Dominic Herbertson (1000cc).
MIRACULOUS DOUBLE FOR MICHAEL DUNLOP AT ARMOY
Michael Dunlop completed a Superbike double victory at this year’s Bayview Hotel Armoy Road Races, less than one month on from fracturing his at the Southern 100 on the Isle Of Man.
The Tyco BMW rider suffered a high-side at Billown but no less than sixteen days later he returned to action to produce two majestic displays of superhuman effort to score a Superbike brace of wins at his home circuit.
The Ballymoney man qualified in fourth with the in-form Derek Sheils starting from pole position in the Helmetstudioflats Open Race, but Dunlop was quick to make up places and by race mid-distance he was beginning to pull away from Sheils. Dunlop eventually crossed the line to take his 18th victory at Armoy by 4.465s, with Burrows Engineering / RK Racing rider Sheils finishing second. Michael Sweeney finished in third 12.5s back on Dunlop.
The Bayview Hotel ‘Race of Legends’ has belonged to Dunlop for the last few years, and the 19-time TT winner was gunning for his 8th victory this time around.
The initial start was halted by a red flag situation and when the action got back underway the race duration was reduced to five laps. BMW mounted Dunlop was quick to lead from the off and put some clear air between himself and the chasing pack which comprised of Sheils, Derek McGee and Michael Sweeney.
No doubt fighting through the pain barrier, Dunlop managed to increase his lead lap-by-lap, and in doing so he repeated his earlier success to cross the line with a winning margin of 2.642s over Sheils. That took his winning tally of wins around Armoy to a hugely impressive 19. Derek McGee went on to secure a fine third place.
It was an imperious performance from Dunlop who once more showcased his extraordinary self-belief and determination, qualities that have seen him become one of the very best road racers of all time.
STAGE IS SET FOR A THRILLING WEEKEND OF ACTION AT ARMOY
The 11th running of the Armoy Road Races takes place this weekend, 26th / 27th July, and it promises to be a thoroughly competitive affair with a top class field of entrants ready to race around the 3.03 mile circuit.
One of the most popular fixtures on the calendar, Armoy has grown in stature year-by-year and is well attended by riders and fans alike, and this year promises to be no different.
Derek McGee has confirmed his entry and will compete in four classes. Last year’s triple Irish roads champion will contest the superbike, supersport, supertwins and 125/Moto3 classes. McGee has made a quite sensational return to form following the injury he sustained at this year’s Isle Of Man TT races. The ‘Mullingar Missile’ was crowned Man of the Meeting last weekend at Faugheen, securing a brace of wins and two second places.
McGee’s biggest rival for Superbike success at Armoy will no doubt be fellow countryman, Derek Sheils. Fresh off a superbike double at Faugheen, the Burrows Engineering / RK Racing rider has looked nigh-on unstoppable in the premier class, and has built up a seven race winning streak onboard his Suzuki machine.
Competition for superbike honours is likely to come from the in-form Michael Sweeney. The Irishman is enjoying a purple patch of form and had a string of successes in only his second showing at the Southern 100. With wins coming on the national scene of late, Sweeney will be heavily fancied when racing gets underway. Thomas Maxwell will also be in the mix as will local rider Darryl Tweed. Kevin Fitzpatrick may also go close given his rich vein of form which has seen the Irishman pick up a win and the Man of the Meeting award at this year’s Enniskillen Road Races.
The ever popular Dominic Herbertson returns to Armoy with the Davies Motorsport Team. The Hexham rider has been on a winning streak taking his first national win at Enniskillen, and securing a Supertwins double at the Southern 100. With a top ten finish coming in this year’s Senior TT, Herbertson is quirky establishing himself as one of the finest exponents of the sport.
Sam West, another Isle Of Man TT high-flyer, will make his Irish National roads debut at Armoy. The Englishman is no stranger to our shores having already competed at the Ulster Grand Prix and the North West 200, but this will be the English rider’s first taste of Irish National racing.
Paul Jordan, a winner at Armoy in last year’s utterly thrilling and nail-biting Supersport encounter, will make his return to racing following a break due to injury. The local rider has been in superb form throughout the 2019 roads season and he will be keen to repeat last year’s success. Few would bet against him to be in the mix for honours come race day.
Joey’s Bar Racing rider Gary Dunlop will contest the 125/Moto3 class where he will be up against Derek McGee and the Faraldo Racing machine. A win for the Ballymoney man, who has three wins in the class already this year, would be immensely popular. Melissa Kennedy has also been in scintillating form of late and cannot be discounted for honours.
There is also a high calibre of classic riders entered into the The Fay Stewart Junior Classic Race and the The Bill Kennedy Senior Classic Race. Six-time Armoy victor and classic specialist Barry Davidson will be hopeful of adding more silverware to his growing collection. Dominic Herbertson will contest the classic races onboard a Davies Motorsport Honda 4 machine, and fellow countryman Mark Purslow lines up to compete on a Honda CB500.
Another rider to watch out for is local man and Armoy club member, Tommy Henry. Henry picked up a win in the Senior Support non-championship race at Faugheen. He will be joined by other riders such as Mike Browne, Andy Farrell, Roger Chen, Andy McAllister, Stuart McCann, Vinny Brennan, Sam Grief, Ben Rea, Neil Kernohan, Stephen Morrison, Wayne Kennedy, English rider Ben Plant and the veteran Ian Lougher.
With an international flavour amongst the 22 newcomers to the Armoy Road Races this year, it’s great to see that the event is going from strength to strength.
ROAD CLOSURE TIMES
* Friday 26th July: 12:30pm - 9:30pm
* Saturday 27th July: 10:00am - 7:30pm
Please show your support to the club by purchasing a race programme. You can purchase yours from the AMRRC office and from the petrol station in the Armoy village at a cost of £15.