Crean the toast of the Kingdom as motorcycle racing returns in style
Darragh Crean was the best of the Kerry riders as motorcycle racing returned to action in the Republic of Ireland for the first time this year.
The Tralee-based Suzuki rider, in just his second meeting competing in the Production Twin class, left Mondello Park on Sunday evening with two race wins and a second place.
He made his debut in the class at the King of Kirkistown meeting at the start of the month, finishing third and fourth in his two races there and he carried that form to County Kildare last weekend.
He won his opening race on Saturday but had to give best to class rival Mark McGauran in race two.
The only blot on his copybook over the weekend came in race three on Sunday morning. He was comfortably leading only for the race to be red-flagged.
Shortly after the restart, the clutch on his Cremur Heating sponsored machine failed and he was forced to retire.
Thanks to efforts by John O’Grady of JOG Tuning in Ballymac and many other helping Kerry hands, Crean had the component repaired in time for his fourth race.
Following an epic duel with McGauran, the Tralee man executed revenge in styleto take his second win of the weekend.
“I am delighted, Mark is an excellent racer and to be on his pace is just fantastic,” said Crean. “It has been the biggest weekend of my racing.”
He left Mondello Park as the provisional leader of Production Twin Class after the opening four rounds and is looking forward to the second meeting of the year in October.
Several riders have misgiving about racing so late in the year, fallout from the delayed season start that to pandemic restrictions, as the colder temperatures will not be suitable for such close racing.
Crean is determined to bring the national title to Kerry.
“If it’s snowing, I will bring my own plough,” added Crean.
The organisers of the opening rounds of the Dunlop Masters Superbike must be given credit, they packed a hectic but compact programme into two days, resulting in four national races per class and all within strict COVID-19 regulations.
Andy Murphy, from just over the county bounds in Mountcollins, had a mixed weekend in the Supersport Class. He qualified on pole but cold tyres in the opening laps caused him to crash out. The incident damaged the steering forks on his Triumph and he was unable to find a replacement part. Instead, he made temporary repairs to get him through the meeting. This affected his confidence but, nevertheless, took three-second places behind Cork racer Mike Browne.
Tralee’s Rob O’Connell took two seconds and a third in each of his Supersport Cup races but crashed out of his third race.
Anthony O’Carroll spent much of the weekend readjusting his riding style to short circuit racing after road racing the previous weekend and was rewarded with three fourth places in the same class.
Superbike racer Emmet O’Grady said he was disappointed with his performances. A brace of fifth places and two sevenths were not within the high standards the Tralee man sets for himself.
His mechanic, Der Rahilly summed up Honda Fireblade rider’s weekend.
“When my man is not happy, I am not happy,” he said.
John Griffin took some positives from a difficult meeting. The Asdee man qualified on pole for the Superbike Cup races and set a personal best time of 57.3 seconds over the Mondello National track. He crashed out of race one, took fourth in race two after fluffing the start and fifth in the third race on Sunday morning. He decided to call it a day before the final race after he discovered a faulty gear lever on his BMW RR1000.