MICHAEL Dunlop and Derek Sheils scooped top honours yesterday as short circuit racing finally made its return at Kirkistown.
And with a shortened season thanks to to the pandemic, the Belfast And District Motor Club made the call to combine three normally individual events into one with the King of Kirkistown running alongside the Presidents Cup and Crown Prince Of Kirkistown.
Reigning national road race champion Derek Sheils, who has missed out on an entry for next weekend’s Cookstown 100 road races, lifted the King’s silverware while Michael Dunlop won the Crown Prince trophy after victory in both the Supersport races.
In the opening Superbike race it was Dunlop who took the early lead tailed by Sheils with pole man Jason Lynn dropping back into third place off the line.
The three had a close tussle throughout the eight-lap encounter as Sheils bided his time behind Dunlop until the penultimate lap, when he made his move to lead and fended off the hard-charging Ballymoney man taking the flag by 0.4sec while Lynn, battling a broken master cylinder bracket, clinched third.
Lynn, who had his eye on the 2020 Ulster Superbike Championship to add to his five Supersport Championships, made amends in race two as he grabbed the perfect run off the line and led almost unchallenged until the red flags came out on the sixth lap of eight when the result was declared giving him the win with Sheils second and Dunlop third.
But with one win and a second, Roadhouse Macau BMW’s Sheils lifted the King of Kirkistown trophy.
The Crown Prince of Kirkistown Supersport scraps were dominated by Dunlop after an untouchable show on his MD Racing Yamaha R6.
In race one he took the flag a full four seconds ahead of Joe Loughlin but in race two, after two red flag incidents, Loughlin led the opening laps before Dunlop reeled him in, eventually beating him to the chequered flag by a narrower margin of half a second, with Andrew Murphy finishing third in both outings.
Dunlop’s surprise attendance at Kirkistown refuelled rumours that he will be racing at Cookstown next weekend, which looks to be the only road race to run in Ireland, North or South, this year.
As Ajay Carey swept the SS300 class, it was a battle between Lee Hara and Kai McClintock for MotoOne honours as Hara dominated the opener before McClintock took race two by 1.889sec.
Ross Moore was the opening Moto3 race winner by more than five seconds, but Hara stuck his hand in during race two and beat Malcolm Love to the line. On the same grid, Lee Osprey and Robert Waddell led the Lightweight Supersport runners to take a win apiece.
Barry Sheehan was the man to beat in the Supertwin ranks, controlling the action both times out with Kevin Lavery and Michael Gillan behind, while Mark Abraham did the Production Twin double with plenty of time to spare over Paul Demaine Jnr as Dara Crean and Mark McGauran split thirds.
The Superbike Cup honours went the way of William Saunderson as he cruised to victory over George Thompson and Alan Armstrong while Thompson and Adam Crooks bagged a third apiece.
But it was a much tighter affair in the Supersport Cup scraps as Graham McAleese pipped Damien Horgan by just over half a second before McAleese put more time into his gap as he powered ahead of Darren Clarke in the second.
Derek O’Donnell did the double in the Pre Injection 600 ranks with two wins over Paul Demain as Steven Love and Luke Houston bagged podium honours, while in the Classics category it was Barry Davidson who took the opener before Mark Johnson beat him to the line by a mere 0.003sec to take 350cc honours. Alex Conroy and Phillip Shaw both snatched a 1000cc Classic win apiece.