FIERCECE The 2017 Ir­ish sea­son so far. T

Lan­cashire reg­u­lar Richard Ford set two new lap records at Walder­stown.

Classic Racer - - IRISH CLASSIC ROAD RACING -

he Ir­ish Clas­sic Road Rac­ing sea­son is at half dis­tance, and what a ter­rific sea­son it’s been so far. It started with the Tan­dragee 100, the first road race of the 2017 sea­son, and what a truly thrilling event it was de­spite the damp, driz­zly con­di­tions of race day. With an im­pres­sive 34 ma­chines fill­ing the grid for the com­bined classes Clas­sic race, most on­look­ers en­vis­aged a two-horse race be­tween Robert Mc­crum on pole and last year’s win­ner, Jamie O’brien, both of whom were on 850cc Wes­lakes, ma­chines that are well-suited to five laps of the de­mand­ing 5.3 miles per lap North Ar­magh cir­cuit. How­ever, at the end of lap one it was Barry David­son on board the 500cc Gim­bert Honda in the lead, with Nor­ton 500-mounted new­comer Dean Stimp­son right on his back wheel, closely fol­lowed by Nigel Moore on 350cc Honda with O’brien catch­ing fast. By lap three it was O’brien in the lead with Stimp­son, David­son and Moore hot on his tail. Then Stimp­son’s gear lever broke, forc­ing his re­tire­ment and al­low­ing David­son to nip past Moore into sec­ond place at the be­gin­ning of the fi­nal lap. Just over four min­utes later, as the lead group bar­relled down to­wards the fi­nal cor­ner, it was David­son in the lead, cross­ing the line a good half a sec­ond ahead of O’brien, with Moore and Mc­crum fol­low­ing. In terms of Classes, the Tan­dragee 100 Un­lim­ited Race went to O’brien with Mc­crum in sec­ond and Tri­umph-mounted Trevor Ru­fus tak­ing third. David­son set the fastest lap at 81.152mph to take the 500 class ahead of Gary Jami­son and Bed­ford­shire rider Keith Clarke. In the 350cc, it was Moore ahead of Sean Leonard and Lin­ton Ir­win and seven times cham­pion Phillip Shaw took top spot in the 250cc ahead of Brian Ma­teer and Richard Ford.

Above: An im­pres­sive grid for the com­bined classes Clas­sic race.

Right: Richard Ford opted for his 250cc Suzuki in the com­bined classes Clas­sic race.

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