As the series recorded its biggest ever entry, at over 200 riders, British Superstock Championship regular Carl Phillips, riding an MD Racing Suzuki, won all three Superbike races on his return to the Masters Superbike Championship on the Mondello Park International Track.
Despite Phillips dominance it was Richie Ryan who was the big winner in the Superbike championship chase as he moved into the series lead following a string of podium finishes. In Supersport, Ross Patterson was the only rider to finish all three races on the podium as he extended his championship lead over Jason Lynn and Aaron Clifford.
With Series leader Cody Nally absent, Richie Ryan and Charles Stuart, both on Yamaha R1’s, and BMW mounted Luke Johnston were the ones looking to take over at the head of the field and it was Johnston who took the initiative with pole position for race one. The luckless Johnston’s weekend was cut short however as he collided with Dan Kneen early in race one, when the Manxman suddenly slowed, putting both riders out for the weekend. In the absence of the rest of the front row, Phillips made the most of the restart to lead all the way from Ryan and Stuart with the BMW of Peter Moloney up next.
The championship battle moved further in Ryan’s favour in race two when Stuart crashed out allowing Ryan to move even further into the championship lead. Once again Phillips took a comfortable win from Ryan, with Gerard Kinghan picking up his first podium of the season ahead of the resurgent Brian McCormack.
Things were to get even better for the Mobil 1 backed Yamaha of Ryan in race three as he followed Phillips’ Suzuki home once again with Stuart down in seventh place. Peter Moloney rode an impressive race on his ageing BMW to move from eight place on the grid through to third, taking the final podium place from Kinghan on the last lap.
The first Superbike ‘Cup’ win went to hugely impressive newcomer Andrew Murphy who once again mixed it with the front runners. Murphy led again in race two, but a last lap fall while dicing for fifth place overall handed the win to Eddie Healy. With Murphy and fellow race two faller Michael Weldon both non-starters for race three, Healy again took the Cup spoils. While all this was going on ahead of him, Dean O’Grady moved himself into the lead of the championship with two second places in Sunday’s races.
The Supersport battle started with a maiden overall win for 2016 Supersport Cup champion Aaron Clifford. The young Meath rider came out on top of a race long battle with team mate Ross Patterson after both had worked their way past Kevin Keyes. Race two was a Patterson benefit as he got a break early on and held on to win by four seconds from Jason Lynn. Korie McGreevy took the final race two podium spot on his first visit to Mondello Park on a Supersport machine.
Race three saw McGreevy move into an early lead but Lynn moved past him on lap two. McGreevy followed Lynn for the remaining laps and then having sized him up had one last gasp effort to take the lead at Southside corner, the final turn. Lynn went defensive and the two battled down the straight to the flag with Lynn holding on for his second win of the year. Patterson finished third to retain his championship advantage over Lynn.
The Supersport Cup competition was fought out by two of Irish Motorcycle Racings’ rising stars as Caolán Irwin and Eunan McGlinchey took the wins. Fresh from his first UK Supersport win last weekend Irwin finished fourth overall in race one and took the Cup category ahead of McGlinchey and Mark McConville. Race two saw Irwin again take victory over McGlinchey but in the final race the tables were turned as McGlinchey took the win, and the Aidan Lynam memorial trophy, as Irwin’s Yamaha stopped on the final lap.
The opening Principal Insurance Pre-Injection Championship race of the weekend went to series leader Joe Grant who made it four wins out of four and looked set to continue his 2017 dominance. Things would begin to change in race two however as Grant recorded a non finish while Darryl Sharkey took advantage of a mistake by race leader Mervin Griffin to move into the lead and take his first ever race win. Having tried for many years to achieve his first victory Sharkey did not have to wait long for his second, as he dominated race three. With Grant only managing third place in the final race of the weekend Sharkey’s two wins were enough to move him into an unexpected championship lead.
The Masters Superbike Championship returns to the Mondello Park National Track for its next event on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of June.
Photos by www.topgear.ie