Wet and damp conditions saw riders take to Dundrod, for the opening practice sessions, of the 2016 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.
Newcomers to Dundrod got the action underway, as they gained their first laps of the fastest road racing circuit in the world.
The session was red flagged due to an oil spillage, then re started, Ulster GP debutants in action included TT privateers champion Dan Hegarty, Sam West, Michael Booth, Dominic Herbertson and Gary Dunlop.
Lee Johnston topped the time sheets on the John Chapman backed RS 250 Honda, following lap speed of 103.875 mph.
Unfortunately later on in the session, Lee was involved in an incident at the Hairpin, which resulted in him sustaining a broke collarbone, ruling him out of the rest of the 2016 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.
Neil Kernohan with lap speed of 101.748 mph finished second quickest on the Logan Racing RS 250 Honda, Olie Linsdell (100.829 mph) and Paul Owen (100.403 mph) both underlined their two stroke prowess.
As did Paul Robinson (98.161 mph) whilst Stephen Morrison (94.180 mph) on his own teams Kawasaki, lead the 400 challenge in front of Vincent Brett and Paul Gartland.
MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix – Lightweight Practice Results:
1 Lee Johnston 103.875
2 Neil Kernohan 101.748
3 Olie Linsdell 100.829
4 Paul Owen 100.403
5 Paul Robinson 98.161
6 Stephen Morrison 94.180
7 Vincent Brett 94.021
8 Paul Gartland 93.591
9 Dave Walsh 90.771
10 Gavin Brown 90.313
Former North West 200 winner Christian Elkin set the pace in ultra lightweight practice, recording lap speed of 100.183 mph.
The very much on form rider who set a new 125 lap record at the Armoy Road Races, starts one of the strong favourites for Ulster GP Ultra Lightweight race victory.
Same applies to Joey’s Bar Racing’s Derek McGee (96.899 mph), impressive Dundrod newcomer Adam McLean (96.115 mph), Sam Wilson (96.090 mph) and Paul Jordan (95.770 mph).
Another highlight of the practice session was Gary Dunlop son of the legendary Joey Dunlop, quickly adapting to Dundrod finishing quickest newcomer, lapping at 93.542 mph.
MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix – Ultra Lightweight Practice Results:
1 Christian Elkin 100.183
2 Derek McGee 96.899
3 Adam McLean 96.115
4 Sam Wilson 96.090
5 Paul Jordan 95.770
6 Melissa Kennedy 95.526
7 Nigel Moore 94.741
8 Gary Dunlop 93.542
9 Jack Sands 90.964
10 Peter McKillop 85.578
Your always guaranteed close fought action with the supersport 600’s, today was no different at Dundrod as many of the world’s leading pure road racers battled it out for the top spot in practice.
Finishing quickest was Michael Dunlop on his own teams YZF R6 Yamaha, who ended a tight practice session quickest, lapping at 117.782 mph.
Photo by Rod Neill
Second fastest was the evergreen Bruce Anstey (117.115 mph) who showed his undoubted midus touch on supersport machinery, as he showcased world class form on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles CBR 600 Honda.
Derek McGee (116.322 mph) secured the third quickest time on the Noel Doyne backed YZF R6 Yamaha.
Rounding out the top six during an enthralling practice session was Mar Train Racing’s Dan Kneen, Dean Harrison and reigning Duke Road Race Rankings champion William Dunlop.
Added stand out performers included rising star Paul Jordan (114.133 mph) on the B&W Racing CBR 600 Honda.
14 times TT winner Ian Hutchinson did not take part in the session on the Came BPT YZF R6 Yamaha
MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix – Supersport Practice Results:
1 Michael Dunlop 117.783
2 Bruce Anstey 117.115
3 Derek McGee 116.322
4 Dan Kneen 116.316
5 Dean Harrison 115.499
6 William Dunlop 114.668
7 Conor Cummins 114.469
8 Paul Jordan 114.133
9 Jamie Coward 113.218
10 Christian Elkin 112.892
With the absence of Ivan Lintin, this without a doubt gives a great opportunity to multiple riders, to gain their first Ulster GP victory, in the super twins class.
Following practice today, one thing we are assured of in the Dundrod is close fought Dundrod 150 and Ulster GP super twin encounters.
Derek McGee continued Cookstown BE Racing’s stellar 2016 roads campaign, by setting the quickest super twins lap speed today at Dundrod, lapping at 108.107 mph.
Fellow anticipated front runners Dan Cooper (106.851 mph), Michael Sweeney (105.956 mph), Derek Sheils (105.693 mph) and Paul Jordan (105.415 mph) where all firmly on the pace.
TT 2016 privateers championship runner up Jamie Coward tipped to be a dark horse for victory, finished sixth quickest as Christian Elkin, McKinstry Racing’s Forest Dunn, Stephen McKnight and Vincent Brett completed the top ten in practice.
MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix – Super Twins Practice Results:
1 Derek McGee 108.107
2 Dan Cooper 106.851
3 Michael Sweeney 105.956
4 Derek Sheils 105.693
5 Paul Jordan 105.415
6 Jamie Coward 103.654
7 Christian Elkin 103.404
8 Forest Dunn 101.961
9 Stephen McKnight 101.510
10 Vincent Brett 101.078
Words by Stevie Rial