The recent growth of motorcycling racing in County Kerry was clearly evident at Mondello Park, County Kildare over the weekend as close to 20 local riders were in action for round three of the Dunlop Masters Irish Superbike Championship.
They weren’t there to make up the numbers either.
The biggest winner, from a Kerry point of view, was Tralee’s Darragh Crean.
Riding his Suzuki 650SV, he took two wins and a second place in his three races over the weekend.
His results were all the more impressive as he and his Production Twin class rivals share the same grid with more powerful Supertwin class runners and Crean managed to take an overall second place during his final race on Sunday.
Crean’s efforts were rewarded with €200 in prizemoney donated by the Dunlop Master Supporters Club.
He left the County Kildare track as the Production Twins championship leader with six races left to run, three each in September and October.
Dylan McElligott is another Kerry rider competing in the Production Twins class, always improving, he took a brace of fifth places to move into seventh in the championship standings. His brother, Tom, after a delayed start to the season, is in 17th position.
Emmet O’Grady was full of praise for his mechanics and supporters who worked against the clock to have his Honda Fireblade repaired following an earlier crash.
The first Superbike race of the weekend was delayed when several riders came down at turn one. Unluckily, O’Grady got caught up in the first-lap melee and his bike’s handlebars and fairings were badly damaged.
His team worked hard to get the bike someway repaired in time for the restart and he rewarded them with a solid fifth place. However, the real work started on Saturday night and the team rebuilt the bike for Sunday’s two races – working late into the evening to get the bike sorted. His efforts paid off and he recorded two fourth places on day-two and is now in fifth place in the championship.
“A huge thanks to my team and others who helped get me back out, I could not have done it without them,” he said.
The Superbike Cup championship is likely to develop into a three-way fight between Kilkenny’s Shane Connolly and two Kerry riders. Tralee’s Evan O’Grady holds the top spot after the weekend with Ballyduff’s Dean O’Grady in third.
“None of the three of us can afford a non-finish for the rest of the year,” said Evan.
Asdee’s John Griffin sat out the weekend after being involved in a crash during Friday’s practice sessions.
The Supersport grid was boosted by a rare appearance by road racing legend Michael Dunlop at a Southern short-circuit meeting, and it gave local riders a great opportunity to measure up against one of the sport’s biggest names.
Andrew Murphy, after a trying weekend, where he could not get sufficient grip in his Yamaha, as a result of the exceptionally warm temperatures, took two third places, behind second-placed Dunlop and a fourth place in a race that the Ballymoney superstar won.
Robert O’Connell was third in his opening two Supersport Cup races but crashed out of his third event, dropping to fourth in the championship standings as a result.
The class also includes Jack O’Grady and Anthony O’Carroll and the Ballyduff-based pair left Mondello in ninth and tenth place in the championship.
CLASS ROUND UP.
Killarney sidecar racer Siobhan Ardener only managed to finish one of her races over the weekend. Hampered by a pre-event hand injury, her weekend went from bad to worse. A suspension issue forced retirement in race one, a small crash ended race two.
Despite all the trials and tribulations she and her driver Fergus Woodlock finished the third race of the weekend and are in fourth place in the championship standings.
Last weekend marked the return of Maurice Feely but the Lixnaw man failed to finish any of his three Pre-Injection 1000 races due to mechanical issues.
“It was a weekend for the dustbin,” he said after his first race meeting in three years.
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