Kerry riders were in the thick of championship battles across several classes as the Dunlop Masters Irish Superbike season drew to a close at Mondello last weekend.
And while there is only one title making its way to the Kingdom this year, local riders will take plenty of positives away from the County Kildare track.
Ballyduff’s Jack O’Grady is the new Supersport Cup champion after taking second and two third place finishes over his three races at the weekend.
O’Grady’s title bid was given a boost when his main rival Ajay Carey crashed during the August meeting and did not enter the September races.
“With Ajay missing, it opened a gap,” he said.
Nevertheless, O’Grady had to manage his three races last weekend to ensure he did not fall into the clutches of Dean Lacey.
Lacey won all three races but crucially the Kerry rider finished second in the final race of the year – had he finished third as he did in the opening two races Lacey would have been declared champion.
The Suzuki rider will be promoted into the Pro class for 2022 where he will face Tralee racer Emmet O’Grady who finished second in the championship standings after taking a win in the final Supersport Pro race of the season.
The result – his fourth 600cc race win of the year – was enough to secure second place in the championship that was won by former British Superbike Championship frontrunner Josh Elliot from Fermanagh.
Elliot and Jonny Campbell, who finished third in the title race, both crashed out of the final event of the season handing the win to O’Grady.
“I wasn’t expecting Jonny to do that,” said a relieved O’Grady. “Josh had the exact same crash as happened to me two rounds ago.”
Darragh Crean arrived at the final round with an outside chance of taking the SuperTwin title on his Aprilia.
Three second-place finishes over the course of the weekend were not enough to close the gap to eventual champion Thomas O’Grady from Dublin.
Crean finished second a total of 13 times across the 18-round series and took one win, but O’Grady had seven wins and a more consistent run to the title.
O’Grady adopted a conservative approach to the final three races knowing that he could afford to finish down the order to take the title.
Unable to beat O’Grady all season, Crean was now faced with the appearance of road racer Brian McCormack who won the three races. Crean but in a valiant performance, setting consistent personal best lap times around Mondello but could not get the better of the Isle of Man TT frontrunner.
He wasn’t too disappointed, knowing his times are good enough to challenge O’Grady in the future.
“I am finishing the year on a high,” said the Tralee racer. “Well done to Thomas, he rode phenomenally all year, and I learnt a lot from him.”
Andrew Murphy was another rider who arrived in Mondello with an outside chance of winning his class championship.
When title rival Damian Horgan won the opening two races, Murphy adopted a “a win it or bin it” attitude for the final race.
Unfortunately for the Honda rider, the latter part of that plan came to fruition, and he crashed out during the opening laps of his final race of the season.
Despite this, the Mountcollins man still managed to hold on to second in the championship standings.
Davy Broderick from Abbeyfeale won his first trophy by taking third in the final 400 race.
Kerry riders will receive their championship trophies at an awards bash in Nass, County Kildare in November
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