In glistening evening sunshine, the Senior race of the 2015 Southern 100 provided fans around Billown, plus listeners worldwide on Manx Radio with a pulsating battle for class honours between roads superheroes Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop.
At the time my report on the captivating evening action at Billown, was as follows:
The Senior race at the 2015 Southern 100 saw Tyco BMW’s Guy Martin make a confident start, Guy lead the way at Cross Four Ways on lap 1 with Dan Kneen, Michael Dunlop, Dean Harrison and Ivan Lintin all in close proximity.
By the end of lap one Martin held a 1.4 second advantage over Dan Kneen, whilst Michael Dunlop was showing true grit on his own teams S1000RR BMW in holding third position.
Dean Harrison piloting the Mar Train Racing YZF R1M Yamaha held fourth, Ivan Lintin was fifth as Jamie Coward completed the top six.
Onto lap two and race leader Guy Martin increased his lead at Cross Four Ways, but newly into second position Dunlop was on a charge showing why he is an 11 times TT Races winner.
Dan Kneen in third position was showing his proven quality on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles CBR 1000 Honda Fireblade.
As lap two entered its conclusion Martin’s lead out front was down to 0.7 of a second as Dunlop in second place was closing in on the Tyco BMW rider.
Positions during the top six remained largely the same on lap three, but one major change arose as Mar Train Racing’s Harrison surged into third position at Cross Four Ways, as Padgetts Racing’s Kneen now held fourth position with Ivan Lintin completing the top five.
Lap four saw leading duo Martin and Dunlop firmly clear of third positioned Harrison, both S1000RR BMW mounted riders were trading 0.4 there, half a second there as the gap out front varied.
By lap five Michael Dunlop was starting to pile the pressure and some on Guy Martin, the stage was set for a classic duel in the closing laps between the riders who both have over 18 International road race victories.
With Martin’s lead reduced further by Dunlop on lap six, a highly compelling, captivating seventh and final lap was in prospect.
Martin lead at Cross Four Ways but Dunlop was in determined mood, there was now absolutely nothing in it between them as they homed into Castletown Corner.
At Castletown Corner on the final lap you could hear the crowd cheering, showing their appreciation for both riders as they powered their way to the chequered flag.
At the line Tyco BMW’s Martin just held off Dunlop by only 0.092 of a second, it’s the third time that the 11 times Ulster Grand Prix winner has won the Senior race during the Southern 100.
Michael Dunlop’s second place finish proved once again a saying that describes the immensely talented pure road racer, proving the impossible is possible.
Dean Harrison finished a fantastic third as he battled away on the Mar Train Racing YZF R1M Yamaha.
Dan Kneen secured fourth, RC Express Racing’s Ivan Lintin was a highly creditable fifth, James Cowton taking in his first race action on VRS Racing Honda sealed a highly impressive sixth place finish.
Jamie Coward on the Horizon Distribution CBR 1000 Honda Fireblade finished seventh, Billy Redmayne impressed in finishing a more than creditable eighth, Green Ant Racing’s Anthony Redmond was ninth as Michael Russell finalised the top ten.
A fantastic Senior race around Billown, it was one that saw yet another great, tumultuous, world class battle between worldwide popular International road racing stars Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop.
Words by Stevie Rial