ROUNDS 7 and 8 of the Irish Short Circuit Championship took place at the short and tight Nutt's Corner course in Co Antrim last Saturday, and unfortunately it was abandoned after a serious crash which left Lusk rider Dean Doyle in intensive care in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Dean was competing in the Supersport Cup race two and the crash occurred on the start line, when a rider in the front row of the grid stalled his machine. Most of the riders behind were able to avoid the stricken rider, but unfortunately Dean couldn't and he hit the stricken rider.
The medical team worked on the injured riders, and Dean was removed to hospital. Owing to the ambulances having to travel to Belfast, the meeting was abandoned with six races and the Spring Cup still to go.
A senior club official said afterwards: 'Dean was not able to avoid the rider who stalled his machine, and as a result of the impact he sustained serious injury. The medical team at the hospital have placed him in an induced coma, and they will decide tomorrow [Monday] when they will take him out of the induced coma, after a scan.'
On the racing front, it produced some of the closest racing this season so far, and while there were very few local riders competing, the fans were treated to good and close racing on a bright but cold day.
The 125 Production/ and Newcomers saw Co Offaly rider Kevin Keys take two wins in the production class, and in the Newcomers race one it was a close affair, with Ross Patterson taking the win by just two seconds from Lee Bradshaw, with Killian Quilter in third. Patterson took the new course record for the class. Loughshinny's Shane Sweeney was making his racing debut, and he finished 15th. In race two Patterson had an easier win from Quilter and Kerr, with Sweeney 14th.
Marshall Neill returned to winning ways on his Kawasaki in the Superbike class, but he was made to work hard for his double, with Denver Robb and Jason Lynn pushing him all the way. In race one Neill took the lead on lap one, and while he was never headed Robb was just 0.704 of a second adrift at the flag, with Jason Lynn just 0.740 of a second back in third.
In race two Neill again took the lead and just held on for the win, but this time there was literally half a wheel in it at the flag, with Robb 0.591 of a second behind, with Lynn 0.687 of a second back in third.
In the Classic races, James Conroy took both 350 class wins from Ashbourne rider Herbie Ronan, and in the 250 Class it was RJ Woolsey who took both wins, while Alex Conroy took the flag twice in the 500 class.
The Sidecars were the only other class who had two races, and they were as exciting as the Superbikes. In race one it was the in-form crew of Terry Reilly/ Clive Russell who took the lead, and they started to pull away from the field. Peter O'Neill/Jack Galligan made their traditional poor start, and despite the short 0.78-mile course O'Neill/Galligan were on a charge, and on the last lap they caught the leader and tried to take the outside route around the final corner, only to be pushed out by the wily O'Reilly.
At the flag there was just 0.523 of a second between the two outfits, with Derek Lynch/Joseph Newton a further nine seconds back in third.
In race two the start was a copy of the first race, and despite breaking the 12-year-old lap record O'Neill/Galligan were just pipped to the flag by O'Reilly/ Russell, with 0.103 of a second separating them. Lynch/Newton was eight seconds adrift in third.
The Supersport 600 only had the one race, but again it was a cracking affair. Carl Phillips was back in action after his nasty crash on Easter Saturday, and he took the win after swapping places several times with Jason Lynn. At the flag the difference was 0.297 of a second between the pair, with Jamie Patterson a further 1.6 seconds back in third.
Dean Campbell took the Supersport Cup race by just 0.033 of a second after a great scrap with Mark Murphy, and David Holland wad third, just a second adrift of the winner. Dean Doyle finished 10th.
Conor Parkhill took another good win on Bob Wylie's Moto 3 Honda, when he beat the experienced Nigel Percy by more than five seconds. Korie McGreevy was a close third in the Lightweight Moto 3.
Dave Butler took an easy win over Aaron Armstrong in the production Supertwin race, with Daniel Annett third. In the open Supertwin race it was an easy win for Ian Morrell over Coyles Wright, with recent Mondello winner Brendan Glover third.
Mark McClenaghan scored another win in the forgotten era class when he beat Ross Crymble and his brother Mark on his 350TZ Yamaha, and in the Avon Tyres Formula 1 class it was a win for Stephen McKeown, with Chris Campbell second and Marty McCloy third.
Mark Hanna took the flag in the 250 race from Padraig Graham, with Michael McKerr third. In the Pre Injection class, Steven Clarke had a three-second win over Mark Featherstone, with Gareth George third.
The 400 class was another cracking race, with Alvin Griffin taking the win from Gavin Quinn by just 1.103 of a second, with Andrew Whearty just 0.534 of a second further adrift. Skerries rider Justin White finished 13th.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Doyle family, and Dean's girlfriend Niamh Coghlan, and hopefully the 22-year-old will make a speedy recovery.