Carole Nash East Coast Racing Festival - Race Day Run Down
The inaugural Carole Nash East Coast Racing Festival brought the curtain down on the 2017 Irish national road racing season.
Held at the Killalane circuit, the newly formed East Coast Motorcycling Club put on a superb show in varying weather conditions and ensured that the fans were treated to some stellar racing, more than a few memorable moments, and one very historic victory.
Gary Dunlop made his roads debut at a very wet and wild Mid-Antrim 150 back in 2016 and has since proved his mettle on board his trusty Joey's Bar MCC machinery, but until yesterday the Ballymoney rider had been without a win. Thankfully that was all set to change as Gary took his maiden victory in the 125/Moto3 race.
After Paul Robsinson retired, Dunlop showed his worth and raced to a dominant win ahead of Nigel Moore in second, and a superb third place finish for Melissa Kennedy.
"Done something today I've dreamed of since I was a kid, it dug up all kinda emotions again."
Son of the late, great Joey Dunlop, a win for Gary was met with thunderous applause from all and will rank among the highlights of this national roads campaign. Well done Gary!
GLAD TO BE BACK AT KILLALANE
Riders and fans alike were thrilled to be travelling back to Killalane after it had been brought back to the calendar following an absence in 2016 and there was plenty of action on show.
Derek Sheils has been nigh on unbeatable throughout the national season on board his Cookstown Burrows Engineering Suzuki, and he once again took the honours at a very inclement Killalane.
The Irishman was simply too hot for the rest of the field and strolled to victory, but alas, it wasn't enough to stop Derek McGee from clinching a 2017 Irish superbike championship crown.
The Mullingar Missle finished third and added a superbike championship to the two other titles he's already secured this season.
Michael Sweeney finished second and there was a superb fourth place finish for Seamus Elliot.
DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR SWEENEY
Michael Sweeney raced to a Supersport double at the East Coast Racing Festival in both the championship and non-championship races.
Local lad Sweeney was in fine fettle as he battled for championship honours with Derek Sheils, eventually seeing off the challenge and claiming victory ahead of his fellow countryman.
There was yet another podium finish for Paul Jordan and Team IMR in what has been a very encouraging first roads campaign for the team.
Senior support honours once again went to Joe Loughlin coming back following his accident at the Ulster Grand Prix. Joe raced to success ahead of David Howard and Johnathan Gormley.
There were wins for Richard Ford and Barry Davidson in the classic 250 and 350 classes respectively, and Paul Gartland was crowned Irish 400cc champion despite Ballymoney man Seamus Elliot taking the victory.
The East Coast Motorcycling Club should be thanked for all their hard work in getting this race back up and running. It produced great racing and moments that will live long in the memory.
Photos: Graham Stephenson