MASTERS SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP 21st August
English and Johnston consolidate while Stuart and Clifford clinch ‘Cup’ crowns
The penultimate event of the 2016 Masters Superbike Championship, on Sunday August 21st, brought competitors back to Bishopscourt for their second visit of the season. With the championship rounds counting down both Robert English in Superbike and Luke Johnston in Supersport did enough to extend their advantages, whilst both the Superbike and Supersport ‘Cup’ titles were wrapped up.
Despite there being five rounds to go at the beginning of the event the Superbike championship chase was already down to just two riders, with Nikki Coates the only one capable of overhauling Robert English. English’s already strong title aspirations were then handed a major boost at the start of race one when Coates was adjudged to have jumped the start. His subsequent penalty dropped him down to tenth place at the flag.
For a long time it looked like Gerard Kinghan was finally ready to break his Masters duck as he led for more than half of the first Superbike race, but he was overhauled by English in the closing stages and had to settle for second once again. Nico Mawhinney made an excellent comeback to racing following a long lay-off due to his North West 200 accident, finishing third despite not being fully fit. Having run as high as second early on Mark Glasgow continued his impressive season with fourth place, consolidating his third position in the championship standings.
Feeling aggrieved at his penalty in race one, Coates was all out to take the win in race two, which he did, pulling away in the early stages and building a cushion he would keep to the flag. Behind him Kinghan again was the bridesmaid following an impressive ride, during which he passed Glasgow, Mawhinney and English to emerge as Coates closest challenger. English came home third just behind Kinghan to maintain his championship advantage.
As the dust settled English was left needing just twenty three points from the final three races in order to become Masters Superbike Champion, to add to the Supersport crown he won last year. Charles Stuart however has beaten English in the race to become the first rider from the feature classes to be crowned champion, as his first of two Bishopscourt wins gave him the points he needed to lift the ‘Cup’ crown.
The Supersport races were relatively tame compared to the Superbike action and that’s just the way Jason Lynn would have wanted it. The youngster continued his impressive form of recent events taking his first and second Masters wins of the season. The first race ran for only four laps following a race stoppage and Lynn was never headed as he won from Nikki Coates and guest rider Carl Phillips. The championship leaders Luke Johnston and Richie Ryan were unusually out of contention but it was Johnston who came out best finishing two places ahead of Ryan in fourth.
Race two again saw Johnston and Ryan watching each other rather than chasing the front runners, as the rain came and conditions deteriorated. They eventually finished in sixth and ninth places in the shortened race to remain one two in the standings. Up at the front Lynn was again the star as he took another win to move into third in the points and give himself an outside chance of the title. Robert Kennedy put some gloss on a miserable weekend, on his return to the series, by taking second in race two having suffered a crash and a mechanical failure earlier in the day. Coates came home third to keep his slim chance of the title alive. Like Charles Stuart in Superbikes, Aaron Clifford wrapped up the Supersport ‘Cup’ class with a pair of wins to maintain his 100% record, but was unable to challenge for that elusive first overall podium on this occasion.
The first Principal Insurance Pre-Injection race was dominated by Andrew Brady as he took a seven second win following a re-start. Joe Grant in third and Stephen Doyle, sixth, were the only championship contenders to finish. Race two again went to Brady but this time the opposition did not disintegrate with second placed Kevin Dempsey pushing him all the way and championship leader James McKenna coming home in third.
The Masters next stop will be its finale on the Mondello Park International Track on Saturday and Sunday October 1st and 2nd.
Nikki Coates was first to the flag in both Superbike races but in race one was adjudged to have jumped the start. His subsequent penalty dropped him down to tenth place at the flag.
With the championship rounds counting down Robert English did enough to extend his advantage in the superbike championship.
Jason Lynn was in impressive form winning both the supersport races.