In front of thousands of sun-baked race fans, East Antrim’s Jamie Hamilton won a thrilling supertwins race at the Skerries 100 road races on Saturday.
The Ballyclare rider qualified the KMR Vauxhall Kawasaki second-fastest, but in the race made his move for the lead as the field left the line. When they rounded Finnegan’s corner, Hamilton led pole-setter Michael Sweeney. The race was on and the duo were never more than a bike’s length apart over the next few laps.
Unfortunately four riders crashed out, thankfully unhurt, and the race was red flagged.
The re-run at the end of the meeting saw a repeat of the first, with Hamilton taking a well-deserved victory over Sweeney. Over the day Jamie had amassed a sixth in the opening superbike race, sixth in the supersport and a fifth in the Grand Final.
A delighted Jamie spoke to the Times before heading to the Isle of Man for the Southern 100 road races. “I had the pace to be on the podium in all of my races but silly little things cost me dear. In the first superbike race I lost a lot of time at the hairpin. I could catch them up but when we reached the hairpin they just pulled away on the exit. Ryan adjusted the ignition between races and it was much better in the Grand Final.
“The bike was real good for the final but I had too much tyre pressure in the rear and it just kept spinning everywhere. My fault.
“In the supersport race I got stuck behind the big group going for third. I just couldn’t get past them. Where I was making up time there was nowhere to pass and when the opportunity came to make a move there was no room. It was a no-win situation. I could do the lap times but not in the crowd.
“My best chance of a win was in the supertwins. I had qualified second-fastest and knew I had the race pace. I went for the lead from the start and was holding Michael Sweeney at bay when the red flags came out. You build yourself up for a race and then have the disappointment of it being stopped. It meant I had to go through it all again for the re-run - nerves and all. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined to win the supertwins race and it was a great feeling as I took the chequered flag.”
The Dunlop brothers Michael and William had the massive crowd on their toes in the supersport race as they had a high-speed battle around the 2.9-mile circuit. Michael was the initial leader but his older brother William hit the front at half-distance and by the chequered flag had just under half a second to spare. William completed his double in the 250 race that saw him coming from a long way back to catch a pass initial leader Davy Morgan with Michael Sweeney third. He could have added the 125 race to his tally but the bike broke down whilst he was leading handing the win to Seamus Elliot.Michael, on the other hand, did the double in the two superbike races. In the opening race, which was red-flagged on lap two when Shaun Anderson crashed, Michael and Derek Sheils were disputing the lead. In the re-run it was Sheils on the CD Racing Honda who took the lead with Dunlop hard on his heels.
On the second lap the Ballymoney rider hit the front and pulled over three seconds by the flag at the end of the five laps. Sheils was a comfortable second with Michael Pearson just holding off Davy Morgan for third.
Dunlop again was the man who provided the fireworks in the Grand Final. He had to fight hard in the early laps to catch the leader Sheils. When he did it was not easy to find a way through but through he got on the penultimate lap and when he did he pulled out over two seconds and set a new lap record into the bargain. He celebrated his victory with a huge burn out on the MD racing Honda in front of the cheering crowd in the grandstand at Finnegan’s.