Philips masters Mondello Park
Carl Philips returned to Mondello Park for the latest round of the Mondello Masters meeting, which also incorporated a round of the ISB, and scored a treble on board his Michael Dunlop Racing Suzuki.
In an action packed weekend, which saw Baltic like conditions on Saturday, turning to a heatwave on Sunday! This was the first time that the ISB had been included in the Mondello Masters series, and it certainly proved a popular move with over 200 entries for the two day event.
The former Mondello Masters 600 Supersport champion, Philips, taking time out form his British Superstock campaign, was using the Mondello event to get more track time on the MD Racing Suzuki, ' To be honest, we have not had much time to work on things on the bike, as each time we go to a race, it's pretty much hectic going, this weekend has given me a chance to try some things on the bike, and hopefully help me when we go to Knockhill for the next round of the British Championships.
Yesterday, we were suffering from wheel spin, but the cold track probably had something to do with this' Quipped Philips before heading out on Sunday morning. Hot on the heels of Philips was another former top runner in the 600 class, Richie Ryan, coming to grips with his new R1 Yamaha, Richie took second in each of his three outings.
In race one, the top two in qualifying, Luke Johnston and Manx rider Dan Kneen, had a coming together on the opening lap, Johnston was taken to hospital for a check-up, whilst Kneen will be hoping to get his bike repaired in time for this week's North West 200. In the restart, it was Philips who led from flag to flag, a procedure he was to repeat in each of his race over the weekend. Third went to Charles Stuart, however, Stuart was a retirement on the opening lap of the second race, but he took 7th in the third outing. 4th in the opening race, Peter Maloney was a first turn faller in the second encounter, but fought hard to take third place from Gerard Kingham in the closing stages of the final race.
Kingham, who took 5th in the first race took third in the second race. Aaron Clifford took his first ever Masters win when he won the opening 600 Supersport race. The race was restarted after second place man, Dean McMaster slipped off, Clifford took the win from his team mate Ross Patterson and Kevin Keyes, who like Philips was using this event for more track time. Caolan Irwin was an amazing 4th, and best of the cup riders ahead of Brian McCormack and second cup rider, Eunan McGlinchey.
In the second race, Ross Patterson did the invincible, winning by almost 5 seconds, something practically unheard of in this class at circuits! Second went to Jason Lynn, who was a victim of a first turn incident in race one, with Korie McGreevy in third ahead of Saturdays winner Clifford. Best cup rider Irwin was 5th ahead of Keyes. The final race saw McGreevy and Lynn battle it out to the flag, with Lynn getting the verdict, McGreevy had the fastest lap, with Ross Patterson riding hard to hold off the close attentions of best cup runner Eunan McGlinchey.
With a first, second and a third, Patterson extends his championship lead. Eunan McGlinchey was also the recipient of the Aidan Lynam Memorial cup. As in recent races, the Supertwins/Stock twins have always produced some very close racing, and last weekend was no exception. Dave Butler may have won the opening Supertwin race, but he was beaten over the line by stock twin rider Eunan McGlinchey, both these riders were well clear of third man, and second in the Supertwins, James Chawke and Simon Reid, son of former world champion Brian Reid.
Sunday's opening race saw McGlinchey suffer a poor start, and it looked like Butler was on his own, but the Aghadowey rider, never gave up the chase, and the last two laps saw the pair swop places, with the chequered lined eventually going to McGlinchey from Butler, only 0.193 seconds separating the leading duo. Better known for his pre injection performances, James McKenna was second in the stock twins ahead of birthday boy Jason Cash. Chawke took second again, with Derek Wilson in third.
For Wilson, this was a magnificent performance, having missed Saturday's race, due to his son making his first communion, Wilson had to start well down the grid. With the performances of young up and coming McGlinchey, rumours will always spread about the legality of a winners machine, and after race two, McGlinchey bike, along with three others were taken for examination, and the winning bike was within the rules of the stock twin class, just as it was after Kirkistown, where it was also subject of an after race check.
Sometimes rumour mongers fail to witness the hard riding style, the high corner speed of lesser powered machinery. Wilson managed to get his machine across the line by half a wheel in the final outing, despite McGlinchey nipping up the inside at the final bend, but lost on the drive to the line. 0.07 was the time difference, and the up and coming Aghadowey rider had the fastest lap in each of his three races.
Loughshinny rider Shane Sweeney was having his first race on his recently acquired Supertwin, three races, and three productive performances, taking fifth in each race, with his race times improving in each outing. Joe Grant won the opening pre injection race, but was a non-starter in race 2, and took 3rd in race three.
Darryl Sharkey did the double in race 2 & 3, and was 4th in the opening encounter. However it was the performance of newcomer Ian Prendergast that made others sit up and notice, second in race one, a DNF in race two, he took the lead in race three, but relinquished to the more experienced Sharkey, but not before setting the fastest lap of the race on his Honda CBR. Rhys Irwin took a treble in the lightweight class, on board his 450 Aprilia, his racing experience gained from across the water has really shown, Jason Cassells was second with third shared between Jacque Foley and Mark Camblin.
On board his 888 Ducati, Brian Murphy was a treble winner in the classic Superbike races, second went to Robin Heathcote & Mick Walsh with Phil Benson, Brian Keohane, sharing third. Adam Dunne took the opening KTM race from Jordan McCord who went on to win the next two. Maurice Kiely took second and third. In the Junior Cup races, there were wins for Andrew Smyth, Ryan Desmond and Oisin Maher, whilst in the young guns, there were wins for Tom Greenwood, Brendan Glover and newcomer, 12 year old Cameron Dawson.
Getting to grips with his new LCR outfit, Terry O Reilly dominated the opening sidecar race, winning from Derek Lynch and evergreen Seamus Killough. Missing from Saturday's race, Dylan Lynch made up for his non-appearance by snatching the lead on the penultimate lap of Sundays race, from O Reilly, with Derek Lynch in third.
With time running out for the organizers, the Sidecar club decided to postpone their third race until the next meeting, so the whole race programme could be competed, this indeed was a very much appreciated gesture by the sidecar crews.