Road Racing News

Race Of The Year: Southern 100 Solo Championship

Road Racing News race of the year award goes to the thrilling battle for Southern 100 Solo Championship honours.

A race long way three way fight for victory between Michael Dunlop, Dean Harrison and Dan Kneen, the Suzuki, Kawasaki and BMW mounted racers produced a race for the ages around the popular Billown course.

At first it was 15 times TT winner Dunlop aboard the Bennetts Suzuki, who set the pace through the opening laps, before Silicone Engineering’s Harrison and Manxman Kneen began to steadily reel in the Mountain Course lap record holder.

By mid race distance on lap five it was Harrison who hit the front, whilst now second placed Dunlop was closely followed by DTR BMW mounted Kneen.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Over the next few laps, the battle royal between the leading trio intensified, by lap eight Kneen moved into the lead before Harrison regained it, Dunlop now down to third maintained a close presence, as the ninth and final lap beckoned.

A quite dramatic last lap would see the Solo Championship title decided on the start finish, which saw Dean Harrison win effectively a drag race over Dan Kneen to become Southern 100 solo champion for the first time.

Third placed Michael Dunlop had the consolation of setting a new outright lap record of 2 minutes 12.231 seconds, equating in speed terms to 115.707 mph.

As the dust settled after nine pulsating laps of action, plaudits a plenty were tabled towards the top three finishers who were covered by under 0.8 of a second, none more so than from the large appreciative crowd around Billown.

More than worthy of being considered as one of the greatest races in the history of the Southern 100, it had all the elements that make a great pure road race; drama, tension, close fought competition, lap records, bold overtakes and battles between a selection of the world’s best road racers.

Words by Stevie Rial

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