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Jul 15, 2011

More Success For Michael Dunlop At Southern 100

Michael Dunlop (3). Photo by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press International, courtesy of Isle of Man TT Press Office
Dunlop at the Double as he takes Solo Championship and 600cc Race at Southern 100 Meeting

- Klaffenbock/Sayle win Sidecar Championship in Billown circuit meeting

Michael Dunlop was a man on a mission on the Isle of Man as he won both the Manx Gas Solo Championship for 1000cc machines and the S&S 600cc race at the Isle of Man Steampacket Company Southern 100 meeting held on the 4.25 mile Billown Circuit in the South of the Island.

He broke both the race record and his own outright lap record in the Championship race, becoming the first man to post a sub 2:16 lap with 2:15.951 (112.541mph). Although he started in pole position, he was headed by Cameron Donald going into Cross Four Ways, but hit the front before the end of the first lap, a position he was to hold throughout the race.

The real battle was taking place behind him between Guy Martin and Ryan Farquhar and at the end of the third lap only 0.2 seconds separated the pair, a gap that Farquhar reduced to 0.1 by the end of lap five.

However at the front of the field Michael Dunlop continued to protect his lead and posted the new outright lap record on the 8th lap of the race, finishing in a new Race record time of 20:38.549, six seconds inside Guy Martin's old record. Martin held second place four seconds behind Dunlop with Ryan Farquhar a further 2.5 seconds back in third. Wilson Craig Racing teammates William Dunlop and Cameron Donald completed the top five.

In the earlier 600cc race in the morning Dunlop powered to a race victory that was never in doubt. Starting from pole position on the grid Michael led from start to finish.

Behind him there was a titanic battle for the remaining podium places. With Ryan Farquhar retiring on lap four, the Wilson Craig Racing machines of Michael's brother William and Cameron Donald, and Relentless Suzuki by Tas Racing's Guy Martin were left to battle it out with William eventually edging in front of Guy and Cameron finishing fourth. Local riders Dan Kneen and Conor Cummings completed the top six. In the 600 'B' Race local rider Dave Kennington finished first with Mark Goodings and William Cowden second and third.

In the first 125/400cc classes race held over from the previous evenings programme, Chris Palmer took the honours on his 125 Mannin Honda and Alistair Howarth took the 400cc class. Ian Lougher and Nigel Moore completing the top three in the 125's and Dave Madsen-Mydgal and Peter Simpson taking second and third respectively in the 400's.

The second 125's/400 race of the day proved a real thriller with the front three in the 125's - Chris Palmer, William Dunlop and Ian Lougher - never separated by more than a second. The trio frequently swapped places before Palmer came home in first place, less than 0.267 seconds ahead of Dunlop with Lougher only 0.153 further back in third. In the 400's class Alistair Howarth finished first, ahead of Brian Purdy and Dave Madsen-Mydgal.

In the 250/650 classes race William Dunlop took the 250cc honours from Tom Snow with Dave Milling third after Chris Palmer retired on lap 3 of the 8 lap race while Ryan Farquhar took the top spot from Ian Lougher and Wayne Hamilton in the 650's. Hamilton received a five second penalty for a yellow flag infringement that cost him the runner-up slot to Lougher.

In the penultimate race of the day, the Petrochem Carless Fuels Sidecar Championship, the honours went to Klaus Klaffenbock/Dan Sayle who led from the first lap, finishing in 20:57.874 (97.307mph). The pair were in record breaking form and broke their own race lap record on lap 2, setting a new best of 2:34.821 (98.824mph) although they were outside the outright lap record set by Nick Crowe/Dan Sayle (99.778mph) from 2007. Simon Neary/Jason Crowe took second place with 21:07.885 (96.539mph) from Ian and Carl Bell (21:15.029/95.998mph in third.

The final race of the day, the Senior Support Consolation Race, saw Kevin Strowger take the top spot from William Cowden with Dave Kennington in third.

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

After his Superbike victory on Wednesday night, Guy Martin rounded out his week at the Southern 100 in the Isle of Man with third place in yesterday's Supersport 600cc race and second place in the Solo Championship Superbike event, run over nine laps.

He almost had the consolation of setting a new outright track lap record for his 112.234mph effort on lap six of the Solo Championship race as he closed in on Michael Dunlop, but the youngster re-claimed the lap record prize on the penultimate lap.

It was a solid week for Martin, who, although disappointed at not taking the Solo title, was happy enough with his performance on Relentless Suzuki by TAS machinery at the Southern 100.

Guy Martin:

"I thought I'd be able to pull Michael back today in that Solo Championship race but Ryan kept showing me a wheel. Fair play to him though he rode well. That temperature made a bit of a difference today - it must have been the thick end of 25 degrees - but no excuses. He broke the tow and that was it. The 600 race was some battle. At one stage I was second and then I was fourth so I'm happy enough to get on the podium. It's been a decent enough week. We would have liked more wins, but that's the way it goes and the boys did a good job."

Philip Neill - Team Manager:

"We obviously would have liked that Solo Championship victory but you can do no more than break the lap record trying to do so. That tells you how hot the pace was, so fair play to Michael. Guy had a decent week: we got a win, which is always good for our sponsors, and three podiums demonstrates the pedigree of Suzuki's GSX-R machinery.

"It's more mileage and more information as we prepare for the Ulster Grand Prix in August and after a few weekends ticking boxes with his crazy mountain biking trips, Guy will be back super fit for the Armoy Road Races at the end of July. With the entry they are expecting it looks like being a cracking weekend of racing."

Solo Championship [9 laps]: 1 Michael Dunlop [Kawasaki] 20mins 38.549; 2 Guy Martin [Relentless Suzuki by TAS] 20mins 42.601; 3 Ryan Farquhar [Kawasaki] 20mins 45.044; 4 William Dunlop [Honda] 20mins 52.539; 5 Cameron Donald [Honda] 22mins 05.138; 6 Dan Kneen [Kawasaki] 21mins 07.896.

Supersport Race: 1 Michael Dunlop [Yamaha] 18mins 58.558; 2 William Dunlop [Honda] 19mins 03.002; 3 Guy Martin [Relentless Suzuki by TAS] 19mins 03.644; 4 Cameron Donald [Honda] 19mins 03.824; 5 Dan Kneen [Honda] 19mins 22.186; 6 Conor Cummins [Kawasaki] 19mins 22.944.
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