Exciting end to the season at Mondello
The final three rounds of the Mondello Masters brought down the curtain on the 2017 Southern short circuit season over Saturday and Sunday on the International track at Mondello, and the weather wasn't t too bad either.
Alastair Seeley was the star performer in the Superbike races, taking all three wins, but it was the battle for both the Superbike and Supersport classes that the fans were looking forward to.
As per usual there were three races over the two days for each classes, with one on Saturday and two on Sunday.
The Lightweight Supersport kicked off the proceedings, and in race one it was David Ging who took the chequered flag from Jason Cassells, with Slane Maguire in third.
Race two saw Alan Smith have almost a seven second victory over Slane Maguire with Jacque Foley back in third. Maguire finally got his win in race three when he got revenge over Smith by 4.5 seconds, with Foley again third.
The Classic Superbikes saw Ducati mounted Brian Murphy take all three race wins, and in the first he beat Robin Heathcoate, with Sean Griffin third.
Race two saw Griffin finish second behind Murphy with Heathcoate third. The final race was a repeat of the first race results.
The Supertwin and Production Twins were combined, and there was controversy in the mix at the end of the Production race, when Eunan McGlinchey was disqualified for having an illegal part on his front forks.
The win went to Jason Cash, with Loughshinny teenager Shane Sweeney finishing second, and Shane O'Donovan in third. Mike Browne took the Supertwin class from Barry Sheehan and Thomas Molloy.
Sweeney took an excellent win in race two beating Shane O'Donovan and John Ella, while Mike Browne took an exciting Supertwin race by just 0.739 of a second from McGlinchey, with Barry Sheehan third.
The final race saw McGlinchey and the vastly experienced Dave Butler locked together for the first three laps over the 3.5km course, but McGlinchey slowly pulled away from Butler to take the win by 5 seconds, with Browne third. Shane Sweeney had a lot of tyre problems in the final race and struggled for grip, and had to settle for second place behind Shane O'Donovan, with David Dodrill third.
Darryl Sharkey was crowned the Principal Insurances Pre-Injection champion for 2017, when he took all three race wins to cap off an excellent season for the Cavan rider.
In race one he beat Ian Prendergast and Michael Prendergast, while in race two he got the better of Michael Prendergast and Kenneth Ivers.
Race three saw Sharkey beat Ian Prendergast, with Kenneth Ivers third.
Stephen Gough took the Supersport 'B' race one from Michael Byrne and Eric O'Byrne, while Anthony Derrane took the Superbike 'B' race one from Frank Doherty and Robert Toner.
O'Byrne took the 600 'B' race two win from Hugh Smith and John Kavanagh, while John Cahill beat Maurice Fealy and Finian McGahon in the Superbike 'B'. Race three in the 600 'B ' saw the same results as race two, while in the Superbike it again saw the veteran Cahill take the win from McGahon and Fealy.
Ryan Desmond took the Junior Cup race one win from Donal O'Donovan with Oisin Maher third. Desmond was again first across the line in race two from Jordan Keohane and Oisin Maher, while in race three Jordan Keohane took the win after Desmond crashed out while leading, with Oisin Maher second and Donal O'Donovan third.
Dylan Lynch and Dave Butler were easy winners in all three sidecar races, with Mark Codd and Liam Gordon, and Fergus Woodlock and Clive Russell second and third in the first two races.
In the final race the first two were the same and it was the second of the Lynch brothers Derek, along with passenger Mark Gash, who were making a return from injury, who took the final podium position.
As per usual the 600's provided some of the best racing of the weekend and it was championship leader Jason Lynn who edged closer to the title after a brilliant four way scrap that saw Lynn beat Clifford by just 0.092 of a second, with McGlinchey holding off Kevin Keys, who got the fastest lap of the race.
This saw Keys start in pole position for race two, and the Offaly rider who has spent most of the past two years in the UK, was delighted with his return performance.
McGlinchey's fourth place also saw him take the Cup win from Kevin Baker.
Race two saw Clifford make some changes to his bike, that didn't work for the Duleek rider, and he was way off the leading trio of Lynn, Keys, and McGlinchey.
The trio were locked together and they were swapping places throughout the race, and at the flag it was McGlinchey who finished just 0.123 of a second ahead of Keys with Lynn third. This was enough for Lynn to clinch the championship with the final race still to be run.
Clifford got the better of a battle with his team mate Ross Patterson to take fourth.
The final race saw plenty of drama, with the red flag coming out after a few laps with Clifford at the front, when Graham Whitmore crashed heavily.
The medical team worked on the Gorey rider, and thankfully he was back on his feet after a short while.
The restart the same quartet locked together with Lynn at the front of McGlinchey and Clifford, and again the red flag came out when a rider crashed at the back of the course.
The result was declared and this saw Lynn declared the winner from McGlinchey and Clifford. Again McGlinchey was the Cup winner from Luke O'Higgins and Michael Browne.
The Superbike championship was down to a battle between Richie Ryan and Charles Stuart, but there was one of BSB's top riders paying Mondello a visit for the first time in years, when Alastair Seeley took out the IFS Yamaha that Robert English rode earlier this season.
Seeley totally dominated all three Superbike races, but the battle for the championship saw Stuart finish second and Luke Johnston third, with Ryan in a steady fifth.
Ryan knew that he could finish in the same place in the second race to clinch the championship, and that he did, the first three in race two were the same as race one.
Ryan was the champion, and he was delighted with his win. 'I sat back and knew that all I needed this weekend was to keep Charles a few places in front of me to take the title. I did enough work at the start of the season to give me a gap, as Charles rode so well in the latter half of the championship. Andrew Murphy took the Superbike Cup Championship after beating James Kelly and Raymond O'Neill.
Seeley finished off his weekend with another handy win, and Stuart was again runner up, with Peter Maloney taking third. James Kelly was making a rare short circuit appearance on his new Suzuki, and he took the Superbike Cup win from Andrew Murphy, with James Rowe third.
Keep 'er lit!