Kerry and West Limerick riders in contention for Dunlop Masters championship titles this weekend

The Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship heads for the Mondello Park National Track this weekend for the season finale and there are several Kerry riders vying for championship honours.  

The 2021 Masters Superbike Championship campaign comes to a close this weekend following a five-event season condensed into just seventeen weeks.  

In the Superbike Cup class, a three-way battle between Kerry riders Dean O’Grady and Evan O’Grady and Cavan’s Shane Connolly will go down to the final race on Sunday afternoon before the championship is decided. 

Friends off the track and rivals on the track, Evan O’Grady and Dean O’Grady are both in contention for the Dunlop Masters Superbike Cup title this weekend. Photo by Sean Moriarty 

Kawasaki rider, Dean, from Ballyduff, took his first two wins of the season at last month’s meeting and the result propelled him to the top of the championship standings.  

“I’ve been trying not to think too much about it. I’m doing my usual preparations as normal. I gave the bike a full service and check over at the weekend,” said Dean. ”This week I will try to get some light training in and good rest. I’m just focused on myself and making another step with my lap times this weekend. I would like to win another race or two to wrap the season up. The championship will sort itself after that.” 

Evan who rides a Suzuki GZXR, a long-time leader of the series, injured his hand the last time out. It is not fully healed yet and that could hinder his aspirations to claim the title.  

“It is probably the worst situation you’d want to be in immediately before a championship finale so I’m just focusing on trying to heal as much as possible,” he said. “I am eating clean and healthy and I took my cycling training down to maintenance so my body has the energy to heal. Really, I’m just getting mentally prepared to go and enjoy it come what may and give it 100%.”  

Evan’s brother Emmet could secure a top three in the Superbike Pro-Class too this weekend while Andrew Murphy will be hoping for silver in the Supersport Pro Category. That class has already been won by Offaly’s Kevin Keyes who is after an impressive season including a last-lap victory over Road Racing legend Michael Dunlop in August.  

Tralee’s Darragh Crean will have four chances to win the Production Twin class this weekend. His final of three races at the September meeting was cancelled due to torrential rain so championship organisers have promised an extra race this weekend to offset the cancelled event. 

“I am just spending my time training hard in the gym and preparing the bike by going through every nut and bolt to make sure nothing leaves me down and replacing main wearable items,” said the Suzuki rider.  

“For the four races, I’m going to do what I always do, put the head down and just concentrate on the race,”  

Crean has a healthy Production Twins points lead over season-long rival, veteran Dubliner Terry Bradley. Bradley will have to beat Crean in Saturday’s opening race to take the championship battle through to Sunday’s final day. 

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