Haire brushes off rivals in Easter cracker
THE 38th Enkalon Trophy meeting was held in glorious sunshine at Bishopscourt, and despite a chilly wind the day produced some hot racing.
This was the first big short circuit trophy meeting of the year, organised by the Road Racing Club, there were top-class entries and despite the return of Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor, the day belonged to Lisburn rider David Haire.
He added his name to the illustrious list of winners on the famous trophy by winning both Superbike races, and he also took a thrilling first Supersport 600 race. There were some great local performances from Alan Bonner and Eoghan Delaney, and also from Mick Jordan.
The Enkalon Trophy was decided over the two Superbike races, and right from the start David Haire got the hole shot from Nico Mawhinney, Denver Robb and the pole-setter Cody Nally. By lap three Haire was starting to pull away from Mawhinney, with Nally finally shaking off Denver Robb to move to third. Haire was in a class of his own despite the charging Nally putting in some very fast laps.
On lap five Haire produced the fastest lap of the race over the 1.8-mile course, lapping at 94.303, and he held on to beat Nally by 3.976 seconds, with Nico Mawhinney back in third. Last year's winner Derek Sheils could do nothing to retain the trophy as he struggled in practice with clutch problems and had to start from the fourth row of the grid, and despite some hard riding he could only manage to finish fifth.
Stamullen rider Alan Bonner had a great race and for most of it he diced with Stephen Thompson, with Thompson eventually finishing sixth and Bonner 0.346 of a second back in seventh. Jamie Hamilton had his first outing on the Wilson Craig Honda, and he finished behind Bonner in eighth. Duleek rider Alan Connor was making a rare short-circuit appearance and he finished in 19th.
Race two was a tighter affair, but again it was Haire who made a lightning start, and he led at the end of lap one. Cody Nally had another bad start, but he was on the charge, and on lap three he put in the fastest lap of the day at 96.242mph and was on the back wheel of Haire.
The Lisburn rider was well aware of Nally, who tried a few times to out-brake him into different corners, but try as he might Haire had everything covered and he took the win by the slimmest of margins, 0.228 of a second, with Nico Mawhinney back in third.
Derek Sheils had a far better race this time around, and despite running on at turn four he managed to get back into the groove and finished in a fine fourth place.
Alan Bonner and Stephen Thompson were having another great battle, and this time Bonner was in a better frame of mind, but despite out-witting Thompson he lost out on sixth place on the final lap when Jamie Hamilton got past to finish in sixth, with Bonner seventh.
Denver Robb was sandwiched between Sheils and Hamilton in fifth, with Alan Connor finishing in 20th.
The Supertwin class saw the return of team KMR, with Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor lining up in the same team, and what a cracking race one they had. Right from the start it was Farquhar who took the lead from Amor, but before the end of the lap the red flag came out.
On the restart the pair were again to the fore, with young Korie McGreevy trying to hold onto the leaders, but the KMR Kawasakis were too fast for the youngster.
Amor, who was has never raced the twins before, struck the front of his teammate on lap four with the fastest lap of the race, and he held on to win by just 1.226 of a second, with McGreevy third. James Chawke took the Production win from Michael Rea and Daniel Arnett.
In race two, it was again Farquhar who took the lead, and it turned into another cracking race, with the Scot pushing his team owner all the way, and on lap four he smashed the course record with a speed of 90.355 to take the win by 1.147 of a second from Farquhar, with Phillip McNally getting the better of Korie McGreevy for third. James Chawke made it a double as well, taking the production class from Daniel Arnett, with the other McGreevy Kia third.
Eoghan Delaney made a lightning start in the Supersport/Superbike Cup race one, and with this being only his third competitive race on the bike he took control of the race and led until lap five, when he unfortunately crashed out, handing the win to Des Mackessy, with Mick Jordan - having his first outing of the season - finishing in a fine second, Mark Jordan third, Naul rider Paul Gaffney fourth and Stephen Gough sixth.
In race two Delaney again made a great start, and although the bruising that he sustained in his race one crash started to have an effect he still managed to finish third. Up front it was again Mackessey who took the win from another strong challenge from Mick Jordan, who finished 1.425 seconds back in second. Paul Gaffney finished in seventh, with Stephen Gough 11th.
In the Superbike Cup class, it was Greg Wilson who took the double, when in race one he beat Michael Watt and Chris Campbell, with Aaron Hatch back in 20th. In race two he just saw off the challenge from Campbell by the slimmest of margins - 0.771 of a second - with Jason Moorehead third. Aaron Hatch finished in 19th.
The Supersport 600 class rarely fails to produce exciting racing, and this was no different.
Right from the start in race one it was David Haire who took the lead from Carl Phillips, with Keith Amor just behind in third.
William Dunlop was making his race debut for the Tyco race team, and his race was over on lap one when he crashed out without injury in turn three.
The battle up front was gripping, but like he did in the Superbike race Haire had the confidence and the wherewithal to hold off the challenge from Phillips, who put in the fastest lap of the race on lap six at 94.908mph.
At the flag he was just 0.237 of a second behind Haire, with Amor holding off Mawhinney for third. Shane Connor finished in 21st.
In race two it was a different story, with Keith Amor showing some of his old style and determination as he held off the challenge for most of the race from the chasing pack of Phillip, Haire, Mawhinney, Lynn and Kennedy.
Phillips is a hard rider when it comes to the 600 class, though, and he wasn't going to be denied a famous victory. On the last lap he put in the fastest lap of the race at a speed of 94.219 to take the win from Amor by just 0.212 of a second, with Haire just 0.091 of a second behind in third.
Nico Mawhinney finished fourth, with Jason Lynn fifth and Robert Kennedy sixth. There was only 2.643 seconds separating the top six riders. Shane Connor finished 22nd.
Mark McClenaghan took the win in race one of the Forgotten Era when he beat Ken Fleming and Keith Millen. In race two he had an easier win, beating Keith Millen, with Gary Miller third. James Conroy took both Classic races, and a new course record for the class, when he beat Barry Davidson and Jonathan Doran in both races.
In the Moto 3/125 race one, Christian Elkin had to work very hard to beat a determined Padraig Graham by the slimmest of margins - 0.906 of a second - with Matthew Hazlett just back in third. Elkin had a slightly easier run in race two when he ran out the winner by 8.480 seconds from Graham, with Paul McCartney third.
In the 400 Supersport race one, Alvin Griffin had to work very hard to fend off the challenge from Mick Jordan, who was only 0.410 of a second behind Griffin at the flag, with Stephen Short 0.529 of a second back in third. In race two Griffin had a slightly easier run, beating Mick Jordan by five seconds, with Peter Fletcher third.
In the sidecar race one, it was the Scottish pairing of Dave Winn and Stuart Clarke who took the win from Dylan Lynch and Stephen Mullen, with Terry O'Reilly and Clive Russell third. Pat and Paul Gaffney finished in seventh place. Lynch/Mullen got revenge in race two when they took the win by just 1.109 seconds from Winn/Clarke, with Pa Giltenane and Aidan Browne third. Pat and Paul Gaffney retired on lap two.
Stephen Titterington took the double in the pre injection classes, when in race one he beat Mervyn Griffin and Johnny Aiken. Swords rider Shane Graham finished 16th, with Michael Weldon retiring.
In race two Titterington had to work harder to take the win from Griffin, and the difference at the flag was just 1.032 seconds, with Matt Donald third. Shane Graham finished 19th, with Michael Weldon again retiring.
All in all it was a great day's racing, and if I were to find one fault in the day it was the poor PA. This left a lot of the fans wondering who won some of the close races.
Keep 'er lit!