Class hat-trick ace running on Auto pilot
Milverton Off Road Club held their second Open Grass track meeting of the year, for the first time just outside Ballyboughal, and the large crowd were treated to beautiful sunshine and - more importantly - great racing.
The grids were full for most of the classes, and despite a number of red flags for medical treatment, the 36 races were finished by 5.30. A few riders were hospitalised, but thankfully there were no serious injuries.
There were double the amount of entries for the Auto class, compared to the first meeting, but that didn't stop in-form rider Robijs Depers, who took another hat-trick of wins, to add to the hat-trick from the first meeting, with Ryan Flynn second in all three races, taking second overall. In third overall was Liam Bruton, with Jade O'Connor taking fourth.
The Evo class had another full entry, and there two different winners, with Mervyn Griffin taking race one and three, but he was denied the clean sheet by some terrific riding by Nathan Markey. This was a battle of Youth versus experience, but the young cub was not for letting Griffin have it all his own way.
Jason Cash took a number of wins in the Clubman's class last season, but his upgrading didn't faze the talented rider, as finished third overall, with Conor Plant fourth.
Tom O'Callaghan took the first two race wins in the Twinshock class, but he had to settle for place in the final race to a determined Wesley Stockdale. Overall it was O'Callaghan from Stockdale, with Grant Lyons third, and Oliver Kelly fourth.
The 65 class also saw two different winners, with undefeated 65 winner from the start of 2017 Gabriels Golturenko missing, Jamie Hurley took advantage taking the first his win of the season from Paddy Quigley, but in the final two races Quigley was flying and Hurley had a disaster, finishing 5th in race two and a dnf in the final race.
Overall it was Quigley from Eoghan Archer, who was having his best meeting for some time, taking two second places in the final two races, and second overall. Max Carrigan was third overall, with Ethan McEvoy fourth.
The Over 40's class had a great grid, but it was Alan Dennis who took a clean sheet, winning all three race wins. Wayne Kirwan was second in the first two races, but after a bad start in the final race, he fought back to take fourth. Overall it was Dennis from Kirwan, with Enda Carrigan third, and Ian Whearty fourth.
Once more the Clubman's class provided a full grid on 40 riders, and as usual the entertainment was great.
John Bradley took the win in race one from Shane Barry, Dwayne Long and Niall Monaghan, but in race two he crashed out while dicing for the lead, only to remount and finish third behind McShane.
He made no mistake in the final race taking the win from McShane, with Derek Deans third and Dwayne Long in fourth. Overall it was Bradley from McShane, with Long third and Deans fourth.
I am always going on about the Youth 125 and 250 races, and they never fail to disappoint. Sean Whelan continued his winning ways in the 125 class taking all three wins, but he was having a tough time in race in one until Ciaran Coyle crashed out, leaving Keith May to take second from Owen Everard. Coyle finished second in trace two with Everard third, but Everard took a fine second place in the final race, with Coyle third. Overall it was Whelan, from Everard, with Coyle holding off May for third.
Gerard Dullaghan scored his first hat-trick in a few years taking all three wins in the Youth 250 class. Nathan McGauran has been concentrating on the short circuit scene, but returned to finish third in race one behind Jack Whearty. McGauran had a DNF in race two, with Whearty taking second from Ben O'Brien. Overall it was Dullaghan from Whearty, with O'Brien third and McGauran fourth.
The 85 Big Wheel had another full grid, but it was in-form rider Shane Valentine who took all three wins despite the strong efforts of Tom Garry.
There were great battles for the lower placing with Adam Clooney taking third overall behind Valentine and Garry, with MJ McMahon fourth.
David Stockdale took the first win in the Grade 'C' MX, but it was Jordan Vella who took the final two races, with Stockdale third in the final two races, behind Eoin Dunne. Overall Dunne had done enough to take the overall win from Stockdale, with Barry Brennan third and Patrick Dowdall fourth.
Luke Stockdale took all three wins in the 85 Small Wheel class, to make it a good day for the Stockdale family.
Christian Russell finished second, with Tom Pierce third and Ciaran Lally fourth.
The Grade 'C' MX2 class again provided cracking racing with Sean Whelan fending off the challenge from Gary Woodruffe in the first two races, but Woodruffe had the final say in the final race, denying the Rush teenager his second hat-trick of the day. Overall it was Whelan from Woodruffe, with Paul Barron third, and Jack Whearty fourth.
Patrick Dunne had a clean sweep in the Grade 'B' MX 1 class, taking all three races, with Jason Cash second, Ross Sheridan third, and David O'Donoghue fourth.
Short Circuit rider and Lusk resident Kyle Nolan doesn't get out much in the grass track season, but when he does, he stamps his authority in the class.
He took the first two wins in the Grade 'B' MX2 class, but crashed in spectacular fashion in the final race, only to re-mount and take third. Overall he took the win from Conor Plant, who rode a brilliant third race to take the win on the line from Brian Barron, with Plant talking second, Brian Barron third and Martin Whearty fourth.
Former Mondello Masters Superbike Champion Brian McCormack made the trip from Tramore to make a rare appearance off road, but his first race in the Grade 'A' class, saw the red flag come out after he crashed in spectacular fashion on the first lap. He was too sore to finish out the day, and it was left to Mervyn Griffin and Nathan Markey to square up to each other. Experience told at the end of the day with Griffin just keeping Markey at bay to take the overall win. Markey was second, with Alan Dennis third, and Wayne Kirwan fourth.
Overall it was a great day's racing, and speaking to the club afterwards, they were delighted with the crowd, the racing and also the field, which held up so well despite all the recent bad weather.
Ian Whearty said: 'It was a great day, and despite the few red flags, we still ran all races and the sun even came out for us.
'We are really delighted to see such a great interest and full entries and we are only at the second event.
'We would love an extra bit of help, if there is anyone who could come along to our events, even if it is just setting up the course, or helping to clean up afterwards, or if they are competent enough to help with the likes of lap scoring or marshalling.
'All you need to do is contact the club through its Facebook page, or turn up on the day. Our next event is on Sunday 6th May.'
Keep 'er lit!