By Kyle White Belfast Newsletter
Home hero Michael Sweeney delighted the local fans at the Country Crest Skerries 100 with a terrific treble on Sunday.
Sweeney clinched the honours in the delayed Grand Final Superbike finale to secure a hat-trick after earlier winning the Open Superbike and Supertwin races.
The popular Skerries man also claimed a treble at the Cookstown 100 in April.
Sweeney maintained his excellent form at the Irish national road races this season with a comfortable victory in the Open Superbike race.
The MJR BMW rider controlled the seven-lap showdown from the front and was never seriously threatened as he sealed the win by two seconds from Burrows Engineering/RK Racing rider Mike Browne.
Ballymoney man Darryl Tweed made it onto the rostrum in third on the Wilson Craig Honda Supersport machine, half-a-minute down on the leaders, with James Chawke and Thomas Maxwell completing the top five.
Pole man Sweeney made it a double with a dominant success in the Supertwin race on his Kawasaki, taking the flag 13 seconds clear of Eoin O’Siochru after five laps of the 2.92-mile coastal course in County Dublin. Ryan Whitehall finalised the top three.
A thrilling Supersport race was won by Cork man Browne after an all-the-way battle with Sweeney.
There was never more than a few tenths of a second between them throughout the seven-lap showdown but in the end it was Browne who prevailed on the Burrows Yamaha by only 0.260s.
It was a victorious return to the Irish national road racing scene for Browne, who broke both ankles in a crash at the Cookstown 100 in April and missed the Tandragee 100 and North West 200 as a result. Tweed claimed another podium in third, 14 seconds back.
Browne also won the Moto3/125GP race on the Burrows Honda by four seconds from O’Siochru.
The Grand Final Superbike race was reduced to five laps after a red-flag incident, getting under way at 5.40pm, after Damian Horan crashed out on the opening lap without serious injury.
Pole-sitter Sweeney made a flying start and was half-a-second ahead of Browne after the first lap, with the pair five seconds clear of Tweed on the 600 WCR Honda.
Sweeney extended his lead over Browne on lap two and now had a cushion of 2.3s, with Tweed 11s down on the leader and Chawke holding fourth.
On the penultimate lap, Sweeney’s advantage was now four seconds over Browne and he went on to wrap up a Superbike double by 3.9s. Tweed secured his third podium of the day in third ahead of Chawke.
Marcus Simpson and O’Siochru were the respective winners of the Senior and Junior Support races, while Stephen Tobin won the 250cc-400cc race.
John Leigh-Pemberton won the Junior Classic race with Richard Ford claiming victory in the Senior Classic event.
The Irish national road racing season continues next weekend with the ‘Race of the South’ at Walderstown in County Westmeath.