Reproduced from the October 13 issue of the Kerryman – Kerry Motorsport News is the motorsport contest provider to The Kerryman News paper
There were plenty of Kerry success stories at Mondello Park over the weekend as the Dunlop Irish Masters Superbike Championship reached its conclusion.
Run over 15 races and five weekends the condensed calendar was not short on action since it got underway in late June.
Darragh Crean was the first Kerry rider to celebrate championship success on Saturday after he secured the Production Twin title with two rounds to spare.
The Tralee-based Suzuki SV racer took eight wins and four-second places over the 15-round championship, such was his dominance of the category.
Ironically, his fourth place on Saturday’s opening race, his worst result of the season, was enough to put the championship out of reach of his nearest rival, Dubliner Terry Bradley. It was a close-run thing too, the clutch in his Suzuki failed during that race and while lucky to make the finish he was forced to sit out the two final rounds on Sunday morning.
“I worked so hard for this all year,” said Crean who is in his third season of motorcycle racing.
The hard work was done in the offseason, track days, practice sessions and an extended Spanish test session all helped his secure the title. He will be back next year but will move up to the SuperTwin class in a yet to be specified new bike.
The Superbike Cup championship was an all-Kerry affair with Evan O’Grady and Dean O’Grady in a straight fight for series honours.
They each took two wins apiece throughout the season and both riders were third overall on three occasions.
Ultimately it was Evans run of six second places as opposed to Dean’s four second places that decided the series in a final race showdown.
“We were pushing each other all year,” said Evan,”It was like a never-ending dream.”
Dean accepted his defeat – had Evan failed to finish the final race of the year the title would have been handed to the Ballyduff man.
“It would have been wrong if I won it,” he said. “Evan deserved it.”
Andrew Murphy secured second place in the Supersport Pro class but not in the fashion he would have liked to.
With the championship already won by Kevin Keyes in September, the runner up competition was to be decided in a fair fight between Murphy and Northern Ireland’s Michael Owens.
Owens won the opening two races and when Murphy’s Yamaha blew its engine in race two – ending his weekend – it looked certain that Owens would take the runner-up championship trophy in race three.
However, he was t-boned off the track by another rider and through no fault of his own, handed the trophy back to the West Limerick rider.
“It’s not the way we had hoped to secure our place in the championship but unfortunately they’re the ups and downs of racing sometimes,” said Murphy.
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