O’Connell makes Superbike class debut at Ulster doubleheader over Easter weekend

O’Connell makes Superbike class debut at Ulster doubleheader

Tralee motorcycle racer Robert O’Connell made his Superbike debut at the Ulster Superbike Championship double-header over the Easter weekend.

He was one of three local racers to contest round two of the Ulster series at Bishopscourt on Easter Saturday and the third round at Kirkistown on Easter Monday.

O’Connell is a previous Supersport class frontrunner at Dunlop Masters Irish National Championship events at Mondello Park.

Last season he raced an ex-Darragh Crean Suzuki in the Production Twin category. Over the winter he acquired a Suzuki GSXR 1000 from road racing legend Michael Dunlop and Saturday’s meeting at Bishopscourt was his first time riding the bike in anger.

He competed in the two combined opening Superbike Pro and Superbike Cup races on Saturday in Bishopscourt.

O’Connell was racing in the second division Cup class and declared himself happy with his maiden runs on a big bike after finishing fourth and fifth in the Cup category races on Easter Saturday.  

Unfortunately, he was denied an entry for Monday’s oversubscribed meeting.

O’Connell was joined in Northern Ireland last weekend by two other Tralee-based racers for the two-meeting weekend.

Crean, despite running third for most of the race, finished fourth in his first SuperTwin encounter on Saturday. The Aprilia rider finished ninth in race two.

“The level of competition is so much better up there,” he said after being beaten by three British Superbike championship regulars in his opening race.

On Easter Monday, at Kirkistown, Crean finished fifth, beaten into fourth place by Road Racing legend Michael Dunlop in the first of two SuperTwins races.

Emmet O’Grady finished seventh in Saturday’s Superbike race against some of the sport’s biggest names including multiple Irish champions Derek Shiels and Micko Sweeney and road racer Mike Browne who won the race. He was also seventh in his Supersport race against similar opposition. Torrential rain forced the abandonment of Monday’s racing on safety grounds with Crean the only Kerry racer to get a proper run.


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