It’s been a long time coming but at long last the wait is over as road racing returns to Northern Ireland.
Popular with both riders and spectators the races took place around the picturesque village of Armoy, County Antrim.
The first of two road racing meetings to be held in the province in 2021 and the first at this venue since 2019 attracted a huge entry list in all classes, from TT stars to complete roads novices.
To the delight of his thousands of fans local man Michael Dunlop put on one of the most dominant shows at his home event winning five races from five starts, adding to his already impressive tally of nineteen wins around the County Antrim circuit.
His haul started on Friday evening with a win in the lightweight supersport race aboard a Honda 250 and followed that with a win in the opening supersport 600 race after a close battle with McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam Mclean, Mclean held the lead for the opening three laps of the five lap race but in the closing stages the Ballymoney man moved into the lead taking the chequered flag 1.7 seconds ahead of Mclean, with Davy Todd coming in in third place followed by the Burrows Engineering RK Racing pair of Mike Browne and Paul Jordan.
Dunlop followed up with another three wins today (Saturday) with victories in the second supersport race the open race and the feature Race Of Legends.
This time round Dunlops main contender in the supersport race was Derek McGee, off the start it was Mcgee who took the early lead closely chased by Adam Mclean with Davy Todd and Michael Dunlop in third and fourth but by the second lap Dunlop had firmly made his mark and taken a healthy lead, but .s the race progressed McGee sealed the front man back in and at the flag they were separated by only 0.028 seconds.
Starting from fifth place on the grid Dunlop had a bit of work to to do in the Open race. Derek Sheils on his Road House Macau BMW set the pace in the opening with Derek McGee and Michael Sweeney in close contention, by the end of lap one Dunlop had moved up two places then going into the chicane on lap three he made his move on Sheils to take up the front spot. Once ahead he upped the pace breaking his own outright lap record around the three mile circuit with an average speed of 106.945mph. This time round he took his fourth win of the meeting 7.64 seconds ahead Sheils, with McGee a close third, Michael Sweeney fourth and Davy Todd completing the top five on his Wilson Craig Honda.
The feature Race Of Legends race had a delayed start after the red flags came out on the warm up lap when Joe Loughlin crashed out at Church Bends and had to be airlifted to hospital.
Derek McGee opened a lead of 1.5 seconds in the opening lap after an incident at Legges Jump, but Dunlop in dominating form who started from the second row of the grid didn’t take long to real the competition in and by the end of lap two had taken a lead of two seconds.
Maintaining a blistering pace the gap widened lap on lap taking the flag and his ninth consecutive Race Of Legends win 9.365 seconds ahead of his closest rival Davy Todd with Derek McGee filling the third step on the podium 0.1 seconds in arrears, Michael Sweeney was fourth and an impressive performance by Phil Crowe in fifth.
A conselation for McGee was a win in the super twin race, Joe Loughlin was runner up over seven seconds behind with Adam Mclean in third.
Mike Browne had a win in the Moto 3 race.
Ian Lougher beat Guy Martin to the flag by 1.5 seconds after Martin had lead most of the race.