DUNLOP MAKES IT SIX IN A ROW AT ARMOY SUPERBIKE RESULTS
P82 BMW man pushed all the way, but continues his road racing superbike domination in the Armoy Race of Legends RACE 1
Michael Dunlop scored his sixth straight win in the feature Race of Legends event at the 2016 Armoy road races last weekend. Riding his superstock-spec MD Racing BMW S1000RR, the 27-year-old delighted his huge local following that lined the three-mile Co Antrim circuit just a few miles from his home.
“It’s handy that it’s only up the road from me so I haven’t far to go home tonight,” Dunlop smiled after dominating an event that he has won every year since 2011.
“People think I am on these roads all the time because they are so close to home but I’m only around the track once a year. Maybe it’s a bit selfish to take six wins but the club put on a good event and it’s good to come here and win the big race.”
Earlier in the day the 13 times TT winner had emphasised his current superbike supremacy on the roads by also claiming victory in the Open race, although he didn’t manage to better his 2013 outright lap record of 106.812mph set on a Honda. With Tyco BMW’S Guy Martin giving Armoy a miss this year to pursue his television work, the Ballymoney man’s principal opposition came from Derek Sheils on the Burrows Suzuki and his brother William on the MMB Yamaha
R1. Dubliner Sheils was runner up in both races.
“We were struggling for a bit of rear grip but Michael was riding well and he was always going to be a hard man to beat around here so I’m happy enough with second and I will go home with a trophy and a bit of prize money,” Sheils said.
Michael’s elder sibling William had the consolation of picking up the Man of the Meeting award after wins in both Supersport races alongside two third places in the two big bike events on the MMB Yamaha R1 that he seems to be coming to terms with.
“It’s been a hard year but it’s finally turning my way,” he said.
William was hampered in challenging his kid brother in the feature race by a holed radiator and he only managed to get to the start line after the race was restarted following a red flag incident.
The 30-year- old, who recently became a father for the first time following the birth of his baby daughter, has won five of the last six 600cc races run at Armoy and the opening Supersport encounter was a classic as the two Dunlop brothers battled to the chequered flag.
“I didn’t realise there was anyone behind me,” he admitted after being caught and passed by his hard- charging younger sibling on the last lap. But it was William and his IC Racing Yamaha R6 that got the verdict by 0.07s after a thrilling charge to the line.
Although his Armoy performance offered a glimmer of Michael’s former supersport brilliance, the younger Dunlop has struggled to find his previous form on the smaller capacity machinery over the last couple of seasons. For a man who still holds the 600cc TT lap record and who once talked about the possibility of lapping the Mountain course at over 130mph on a supersport machine, the 27-year-old’s recent loss of form in the class is puzzling.
Michael Dunlop admitted his MD Racing R6 was down on horsepower compared to his brother’s bike and he didn’t bother to ride in the supersport races at the recent Southern 100, but his performances on his stock S1000RR at Armoy will please fans who are hoping for a repeat of the Dunlop v Hutchinson TT battle at next week’s Ulster Grand Prix. The Ballymoney man was the winner of both superbike races on the Island but it was Hutchy who dominated the superstock class on his Tycoliveried S1000RR. Dunlop’s recent wins at Skerries and Armoy have given him more time to perfect his stocker’s set up.
“It is unbelievable how hard we push to win races around here, even at over 160mph the bike is moving about beneath you and it is a bit of a handful,” Dunlop smiled after his happy homecoming.
“But the superstock bike is working good now and the Ulster is going to be hot and heavy, there’s no doubt about that.”
‘It is unbelievable how hard we push to win races here... the bike’s a real handful’