The penultimate round of the Dunlop Masters Irish Superbike Championship took place last weekend and after two days of fast racing, there are several trophies on the way back to The Kingdom.
As ever, there were Kerry riders in contention in all the main classes at Mondello Park and many local riders are in strong championship positions come the final round at the end of September.
With the arrival of two former British Superbike championship frontrunners on the Mondello scene, Emmet O’Grady is not having it all his own.
The former class champion had to give his best to Josh Elliott and Kevin Keyes in the opening two races and a shoulder injury, compounded by the fact that he was racing in two different categories, meant O’Grady finished well down the order in race three.
Nevertheless, he left Mondello Park holding second place in the title race. Just 19 points separate O’Grady and Elliot with 75 on offer over the course of the final three-race meeting next month.
Emmet’s performance in the second race was particularly impressive after he pipped Johnny Campbell for third place in the run to the line.
On aggregate, Emmet was the third best Supersport rider of the meeting and pocketed €100 in prize money put up by the local motorcycle racing supporters club.
Ballyduff’s Jack O’Grady is the new leader of the Supersport Cup championship after his main rival Ajay Carey crashed out of the opening race. Carey’s bike was too badly damaged to continue for the rest of the weekend.
O’Grady rode his three races with the championship in mind, taking two podium finishes (second in race one and third in race three) to leave Mondello Park with a 12-point championship advantage.
Emmet O’Grady holds fourth place in the Superbike championship after the weekend, Ballyduff’s Dean O’Grady is 12th and Emmet’s brother Evan is 12th.
The latter withdrew from two races over the weekend after finding a faulty sensor in his Honda and without a spare unit to replace it he was forced to sit out the remaining races.
The first Superbike race of the meeting was noteworthy from a Kerry point of view with three Kerry men in the top six,
The race was won by Dubliner Thomas O’Grady (unrelated to the Kerry O’Gradys) with Derek Shiels second and Alan Connolly third.
The next three positions were all filled by Kerry riders called O’Grady, with Emmet fourth, Dean fifth and Evan sixth.
Darragh Crean cannot get the better of his Dublin rival Thomas O’Grady. Despite putting his Aprilia RS660 on pole position, and leading for most of the opening race, Crean finished second to the Dubliner. In race two both riders were judged to have jumped the start and following a 20-second penalty they finished seventh and eighth.
The third and final race mirrored the opening contest with O’Grady taking the win from the Tralee man. Just 23 championship points separate the pair ahead of the final meeting where there are 75 points on offer.
Crean accepted that he cannot touch O’Grady but has learned a lot by following his rival around the Kildare track.
“He is bringing me on leaps and bounds,” said Crean.
It was the seventh time this year that Crean finished second to O’Grady.
Andrew Murphy took two wins in the Moto 400 class but had to give his best to his great rival Damian Horgan for the third bout. The West Limerick man and the County Louth racer swapped positions several times over the course of the 12-lap race in what was one of the most exciting encounters over the whole weekend.
“It was a great race,” said Murphy, “I gave it everything I had but well done to Damian.”
Abbeyfeale’s Davy Broderick was another local rider competing in this class.
The Production Twins class – often considered an entry class – attracts the largest number of Kerry riders with four contestants.
Duagh’s Mike Sheeran made the switch from the Moto 400 class for this weekend and was the best of the locals over the three races. The class also included Alex O’Grady (Ballyduff), Tom McElligott (Kilflynn) and debutant Matthew O’Donoghue (Beale).
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