Rain stops play at Tandragee 100

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Rain stops play at Tandragee 100 thumbnailWilliam Dunlop and Forest Dunn pictured during the First Open Race on Saturday at the T100.

Poor weather conditions and accident leads to premature halt to racing


THE 57th Around-a-Pound Tandragee road races ended with the cancellation of the final two races on the programme, following an accident after the chequered flag had gone out on the final lap of the Senior Support Race, this incident, coupled with continuous rain; the organisers took the decision to call a halt to the day's proceedings.

The action began with the travelling marshalls doing a lap of the circuit in memory, of the late Stanley McKee, the former competitor and travelling marshal who recently sadly passed away.

This was followed by the popular Downshire Coach Travel Parade Laps in which the inspirational Talan Skeel-Piggins (who is paralysed from the chest down) wowed the massive crowds of spectators.

Following a long winter, the road race scene was back in action, with the McCrum's Motorcycles Open race, where Burrows Engineering rider, Derek Sheils took an unchallenged win from William Dunlop, who got the better of Derek McGee at half distance.

Dunlop, having his first outing on a big bike since last year's Ulster Grand Prix, was riding the Martrain Superstock Yamaha.

McGee took third on his Kawasaki with Michael Sweeney best of the BMWs in 4th spot, impressive on his Tandragee debut was Alan Bonner who got the better of a race long duel with Davy Morgan.

Local rider, Shaun Anderson, who flew in from Germany for his local race meeting, took an excellent 7th, on his new Suzuki Superstock machine.

And what about the return of Guy Martin? Unfortunately for Guy, his race didn't last too long! An unfortunate incident on the opening lap at Marlacoo Corner saw the Honda rider collide with Paul Jordan, resulting in both riders going down, thankfully, uninjured.

With the new Honda needing as much testing as possible, this wasn't in Martin's script for the weekend!

Fastest lap went to Sheils, who would be the only rider to lap under the three minute barrier at this year's event.

Next up was the Principal Insurance Junior Support race, Manx newcomer Jamie Williams was the early leader from fellow newcomers, Joseph Loughlin and Michael Browne.

Loughlin bided his time before making his move, going on to take the record breaking win, by nine seconds from Browne and Williams.

Fourth went to Oisin Watson ahead of local rider Stephen Morrison and Andy McAlister.

Loughlin rewrote the record books by shattering the lap record for the junior support, by almost 4 mph!

Browne and Williams also broke the old lap record.

Just before the McCullagh Property 600 race it began to rain, and riders were given time to change tyres after their sighting lap. From the flag, it was the Mullingar missile, Derek McGee who showed scant regards for the conditions, opening a lead on the first lap, McGee remained unchallenged and continued to pull away from the rest of the field, going on to take the win by 16 seconds from William Dunlop who had an equally lonely unchallenged second place.

Michael Sweeney was in third until he slipped off at Castle Corner (uninjured), this left Paul Jordan and Derek Sheils to battle for the final podium position, which eventually went to Sheils. Graham Kennedy took an impressive 5th place ahead of Group B runners, Welsh man Paul Williams and Mick Weldon.

The Phillip Riddall Memorial Classic race was won by the versatile Barry Davison on the 500 Gimbert Honda from Jamie O'Brien, who was the best of the 1000 cc runners. Nigel Moore topped the 350 class with third overall, from Robert McCrum, Gary Jamieson and newcomer Keith Clarke. Looking for his 9th 250 championship in a row, Philip Shaw won the 250 class from Brian Mateer by ten seconds.

Having retired from the 600 race, and having suffered a seizure during last night's practice for the Moto 3 class, Adam McLean was in need of a decent result, and in the Moto 3 race, he took the win, but it was a close finish, as Sam Wilson was just a half second behind at the flag. McLean looked to be on course for an easy win, but in the closing stages,

Wilson piled on the coals, another lap could have seen a different result! Third went to Nigel Moore from newcomer Dean Stimpson and star of the recent TV documentary Melissa Kennedy, was pole setter from practice, Paul Robinson retired on the warm up lap. Run concurrently was the Groucho's Café 400 race, and here Ballymoney's Darryl Tweed took the win by over half a minute from Seamus Elliot and Paul Gartland.

Having his first outing on the Shay D Yamaha, Cork rider Stephen Tobin was 4th ahead of David Howard and Callum Laidlaw.

The Portadown Recycling Ltd Forgotten Era race saw Jamie O Brein lead for most of the race on his beautiful sounding 350 Yamaha, but it was Des Butler who took the win in the closing stages of the race, third went to Richard Ford on his Norton.

With the rain continuing to fall, the riders lined up for the Tandragee Supervalu Senior Support race. As in the junior support class, it was Manx rider Jamie Williams who took the initial lead from Castleblaney's Joseph Loughlin.

After a couple of laps, Loughlin began to open a lead, extending it to almost 20 seconds at the flag. Williams was a lonely second with Jonathon Gormley having his best result in the support class in third ahead of Group B runner Dougie Shearer and David Howard, Rodney Little was 6th across the line. Loughlin was the only double winner of the day!

This race was red flagged just as the race ended when two competitors crashed on the run towards Bell's cross roads.

The medical services were quick on the scene and the injured rider, Dario Cecconi was stabilised before being moved to hospital. With the rain continuing to fall heavily, and the roads being cleaned up at the scene of the incident, time was running short, and the organisers decided to call the remaining two races off, the Tayto NI Ltd Supertwins/Simon Magee Plumbing 250GP and the feature Around-a-Pound Tandragee 100 race. This wasn't the ending anyone wanted to see, but safety is paramount for the North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club Ltd, and this was unquestionably the correct decision.

The organisers of the 57th Around a Pound Tandragee 100, wish to thank all the officials, competitors, marshals, medical staff, landowners, PSNI and everyone who played a part in setting up, and dismantling the circuit, etc... to all the spectators who purchased a race programme and also for all the donations, and wish injured competitors a speedy and full recovery.


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