WEEKS after fracturing his pelvis and piloting a Zimmer frame, Michael Dunlop returned to the Irish national Road racing scene this weekend in style with victory at Armoy.
The Ballymoney man, still suffering from injuries sustained at the Southern 100 just over two weeks ago, won both of the superbike races, securing a record eighth successive Race Of Legends wins.
In the first of the days superbike outings it was Derek McGee who led from the off closely chased by Shiels Sweeney and Dunlop. Starting from fourth on the grid Dunlop wasted no time in battling his way to the front and extending his lead lap on lap taking the chequered flag 4.4sec ahead of Sheils spoiling the Dubliners recent good run of wins with Michael Sweeney who had also got past early leader McGee to take third.
In the day’s feature race, the Race Of Legends, it was again McGee who led off the line a lead he held until lap four when Darren Cooper crashed out at the hairpin bringing out the red flags.
On the restart it was the Mullingar man who again grabbed the lead closely followed by Dunlop and Sheils, but by the end of the opening lap Dunlop pulled the pin and had moved to the front. By the mid way point of the five lap restarted race he had a lead of some three and a half seconds. On the last lap Shiels found a way past McGee and narrowed the gap to Dunlop but it was to little to late and Dunlop took the win by 2.6sec with McGee a further 3.3sec adrift.
McGee won the second supersport race to make it a double win after narrowly beating Paul Jordan in Friday’s race. Jordan sat the second race out due to an injury he sustained when him and McGee collided at the end of the Friday race.
It was a reasonably comfortable victory taking the chequered flag 5.3sec ahead of Sweeney and Derek Sheils in third.
McGee completed a hat trick of wins in the 125/MOTO3 race unchallenged from start to finish. Gary Dunlop who started at the rear of the grid due to problems during yesterdays qualifying fought his way through the field to take second on corrected time but still a might 19.5 seconds down on McGee with Melissa Kennedy in third.
McGee lost out on a fourth win of the meeting in the Supertwin race when he retired out of the lead gifting Andy Farrell the win from Neil Kernohan and Stephen McKnight.
Kernohan had a convincing win in the Lightweight Supersport race ahead of Scotsman Kris Duncan and David Howard.
Vinny Brennan dominated the Junior Support race to win from Dominic Cottrell with newcomer Ryan Fenton third.
Fenton later won the Senior Support race his first road race victory taking the win by 0.1 seconds from Andy McAllister with Friday’s winner Tommy Henry third.
Barry Davidson and Dominic Herbertson had a win a piece in the classic races.
*Images: Derek Wilson