SUNFLOWER TROPHY: Fantastic five for Irwin boys at Bishopscourt
Saturday's Sunflower Trophy meeting brought the Irish short circuit season to a close with a fitting finale at Bishopscourt in Co Down, where the Irwin brothers chalked up five wins between them.
British Superbike star Glenn Irwin’s maiden success in the coveted Sunflower event was complemented by a double in the Irish Superbike races, while younger brother Andrew notched a brace on the Gearlink Kawasaki in the Supersport class.
BSB rider Irwin, who claimed pole position on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, opened his account with a comfortable win in the AJ Plumbing Supplies Superbike race in the morning, leading home Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon by eight tenths of a second after eight laps, with Danny Buchan completing the top three on the MSS Kawasaki.
James East, who crashed out of the showpiece Sunflower race, finished fourth on the Gearlink Kawasaki from Masters Superbike champion Robert English (IFS Yamaha) and Nikki Coates on the Kingsbury Packaging Kawasaki.
In The People’s Race Superbike event, Irwin completed a routine win to secure his treble, beating Buchan by 2.1 seconds with English making it onto the rostrum in third on Graeme Hanna’s Yamaha R1.
Iddon was forced to miss the race in order to catch a flight to England, where he was due to participate in a charity chat show hosted by Jamie Whitham.
A huge crowd at Bishopscourt was treated to a blistering first Supersport race, which saw a frantic three-way scrap at the front involving Andrew Irwin, David Allingham (EHA Racing Yamaha) and Carl Phillips, who was granted the chance to ride the Gearlink Kawasaki alongside British Supersport frontrunner Irwin.
Young prospect Irwin lost the lead to Eglinton’s Allingham on the penultimate lap but produced a race-winning move on the final lap to grasp victory by only 0.189 seconds.
Lisburn rider Phillips was only two tenths behind Allingham as the first three were separated by less than half-a-second, with Ross Twyman only a further two tenths adrift in fourth.
Nikki Coates and Robert Kennedy on his Yamaha R6 rounded out the top half dozen.
In race two, another sizzling shootout saw Irwin again pip Allingham in a breathtaking finish, with the warring duo separated by only 0.089 seconds on this occasion. Phillips again took third, three tenths behind Irwin, with Kennedy, Twyman and Coates the top six.
Co Donegal’s Richard Kerr did the double in the Moto3 (125GP) races with Christian Elkin twice finishing second. Robert Kennedy was third and the first 125cc rider home in each race.
Paul McClung won both Supertwins races, taking victory in the first from Elkin and Kennedy. In race two, Kennedy sealed the runner-up spot ahead of Mark Hanna, who was making his racing return following a big crash at the Bush Road Races a few years back.