Local racers prepared for this weekend’s penultimate round of the Dunlop Masters Irish Superbike Championship in two very different ways.
Andrew Murphy went north to Bishopscourt for round four of the Ulster Superbike Championship while Anthony O’Carroll ventured across the Irish Sea for his first attempt at the Thundersports UK series at Oulton Park.
It was Mountcollins-based Murphy’s second attempt at the Ulster series this year.He finished tenth, on-board his PCRS Yamaha R6, in race one after a bad tyre choice but improved three positions in race two.
“It started badly for me because I went out on a half wet and half dry track with dry tyres so I didn’t get a good run and started race one from P20. It was red-flagged on the second lap so we only got six laps on the re-run, but had a steady run made up a nice few positions and finished tenth,” he said.
“The second race was a lot better for me as I got a good start and got the hammer down from the start, passing three riders in one corner on the first lap. I got up to seventh on lap five, but the rest of the front riders had too much of a gap by then. I put the head down anyway and set my fastest lap every lap and did my fastest lap on the last lap which is a great positive I can take from the round.”
Murphy heads to this weekend’s triple-header at Mondello Park holding third place in the Supersport Pro 600cc National Championship.
The top step of the Supersport podium has been the property of Offaly’s Kevin Keyes for most of the season but he has worked for his victories on all occasions, having had to take on top Road Racers Adam Mc:Lean and Michael Dunlop. His nearest championship challenger is Mike Browne who has so far failed to match his 2020 dominance, and Murphy who has been a regular podium finisher.
O’Carroll’s first overseas event was an eyeopener in many ways including the much better facilities at tracks in Britain compared to home.
It also took a while to get used to the undulating Cheshire track. Despite it being his maiden British outing, because of his Road Racing licence, he was forced to run with the Division One and Two riders in the Sportsman classes as opposed to the Division Three and Four combined races as his lack of UK experience suggested.
However, he was happy with his performance and looks forward to returning to England once the Irish season draws to a close next month.
“A huge learning curve, and a great experience,” he said. “Despite the occasional overshoot and running off here and there and getting used of the high speed! It is an unbelievable circuit and it is very like road racing with all the blind corners and crests. It is bit of a rollercoaster ride. I am really looking forward to getting over for Cadwell Park next month. It would really benefit a rider to make the effort to get a few rounds in over there.”