A weekend of extreme highs and lows for Kerry riders at Mondello Park

A weekend of extreme highs and lows for Kerry riders at Mondello

Kerry riders experienced both ends of their emotional limits after a dramatic weekend of Dunlop Masters Superbike racing at Mondello Park last weekend.

The second weekend of the season attracted its usual large entry of Kerry-based competitors and while several arrived home with trophies they also have severely damaged racing bikes to look at before the next triple-header in June.

Emmet O’Grady’s return to the Supersport class got off to the perfect start. The Tralee man took delivery of a new Yamaha R6 on Friday and showed the Mondello crowd just why he was class champion in 2018.

Straight out of the box, he won the opening race at a canter on Saturday. He backed this up with another dominant class win on Sunday.

However, his final race of the weekend came to an unfortunate end on Sunday. Dicing with Shane Connolly, the Cavan man executed an over-ambitious move at Southside that resulted in two riders being launched into the gravel trap.

O’Grady’s team were far from happy with the amount of damage inflicted on the new bike and there some choice words issued in the pitlane once the two bikes were recovered.

Ballyduff’s Jack O’Grady, although competing in the Supersport Cup, class left Mondello Park in third place in the overall championship. His weekend was almost the polar opposite of Emmet’s. He crashed during the practice session on Friday and spent most of the next 24 hours rebuilding his Suzuki 600. His efforts were rewarded with a fourth, third and class win in the Cup category. His performance in his third and final race was good enough to take second overall in the combined Cup and Pro results.

Supersport Cup newcomer Stephan Heelan from Killarney took a fourth-place finish on Saturday in just his fourth ever motorcycle race but the sport bit him on Sunday and he crashed out of his two races.

In the Superbike category, Emmet experienced another emotional roller-coaster. He set fastest time in qualifying to record his first ever Pole Position in the top class. He backed this up by taking second place in his opening race – his best result of the season so far – and by taking fourth in race two.

However, the Honda CBR rider was caught out on slick tyres during the third race which was run in the opening minutes of a heavy rain shower.  The lack of grip resulted in a second visit to the gravel trap.

Darragh Crean was carrying the demons of a very serious crash from round one into this weekend.

The Aprilia rider suffered serious injuries in an opening lap crash during the first race of the season last month.

He came back fighting, taking a win and two second places in the SuperTwin class.

Rob O’Connell, now on board Crean’s Production Twin championship-winning Suzuki left Mondello in fourth place in the championship standings after taking a second, a third and a fourth-place finish over the course of his three races.  

Class rival Tom McElligott Jr took a fourth-place finish on Saturday but was, by his own admission, off the boil on Sunday. His father, Tom Sr, had clutch problems all weekend.

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