FIERCECE The 2017 Irish season so far. T
Lancashire regular Richard Ford set two new lap records at Walderstown.
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.