Hat-trick for Dunlop on National Road Race return

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Derek Wilson

Michael Dunlop secured a surprise Superbike double and a Supersport win at the Walderstown Race Of The South at the weekend.

Having qualified third quickest on Saturday, the Ballymoney man - who hadn’t competed at the County West Meath venue since 2016 - wasted no time in hitting the front in the first race of the day, the Open Race. Dunlop who was a last minute and surprise entry managed to hold off Michael Sweeney who was never much more than a bike’s length behind with only 0.339 seconds separating them at flag. Mike Browne was third, a further two seconds in areas of the leading pair.

Next up, the Supersport race saw Browne on his Burrows Engineering RK Racing R6 take the lead off the line, but by the end of the opening lap Dunlop had taken control. Lap four saw Browne make an attempt to regain the front position as they exited turn one but Dunlop held off his advance and maintained the lead gradually opening a gap of 1.5 seconds at the flag.

The Grand Final saw Browne lead again for the opening two of the seven lap race but by the third Dunlop had worked his way back from fourth on his Hawk Racing Buildbase Suzuki and into the lead. Once in front he edged ahead of the chasing pair, Sweeney and Browne, this time taking the win 2.287 seconds ahead of Sweeney who had got passed the still recovering Browne - following his Cookstown crash - to take third, a further one and half seconds behind.

Michael Sweeney continued his winning run in the Supertwin class. Starting the restarted race from the back of the grid due to engine problems during Saturdays practice, he wasted no time in making his mark, easily moving through the pack to take the win with an impressive 14.5 second advantage.

Newcomer Kevin Keyes had an impressive day winning his first ever road race in the Senior Support race ahead of Keelim Ryan and Michal Gahan in third. He went on to make it a double celebration later in the day with a victory in the Non Championship Senior Support race.

Ryan did have his moment though, with a dominant win in the MOTO 3/SS300/SS400 race on his Faraldo Racing 450 some 25 seconds ahead of Johnathan Watt. Barry Davidson and Richard Ford shared the honours in the Classic races while the two Junior Support races were won by Watt.

Picture: Derek Wilson
Picture: Derek Wilson