Southern 100: Michael Dunlop Provides New GSX-R 1000 With First Billown Success In Tight 600/1000 Race

Southern 100: Michael Dunlop Provides New GSX-R 1000 With First Billown Success In Tight 600/1000 Race

Extracting the maximum out of the new GSX-R 1000, Michael Dunlop provided the marques new model with a maiden Southern 100 success around Billown, in a tight, close fought 600/1000 race.

In a race long duel with DTR’s Dan Kneen, there was nothing in it throughout between the Ballymoney and Braddan based riders.

Manxman Kneen in great form, following Open race honours at Imatranajo in Finland, was looking on course for a first big bike title at Billown, going into the penultimate lap of the race.

Lap six though would see Dunlop charge back to the front, pulling out a lead of around half a second over the 2014 Irish road race Superbike champion.

This would prove pivotal, as on the final lap his lead gradually step by step was been reduced by a determined Kneen, who although ultimately finishing in second place, had the distinction of setting a new race lap record of 114.185 mph.

The gap at the line between the Suzuki and BMW Motorrad backed riders, stood at just 0.159.

Race winner Dunlop, said in the winners enclosure that he was a bit “rusty”, having not raced since his momentous Pokerstars Senior TT success.

A philosophical Kneen, was happy enough with second, whilst Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison in third place stated that a bad start slightly hampered his bid to run with the pace setters.

Radcliffe’s Racing’s Jamie Coward sealed an impressive fourth place, in front of the closely matched Ivan Lintin and James Cowton, as Rob Hodson in seventh also impressed on his own teams BMW.

Accumulating the final spots within the top ten, where Mark Goodings, Michael Russell and Anthony Redmond.

600 honours went the way of event newcomer Team ILR’s Joe Thompson, from Brendan Fargher and Darryl Tweed who finalised the podium finishers.

Looking back overall a top class opening race of the 2017 Southern 100, you have to draw some notable conclusions.

One is the new GSX-R 1000 Suzuki, is a top class machine but is still improving. In my opinion at present what’s making the difference for Suzuki’s success roads wise, is one factor overall, the mounts pilot, 15 times TT winner Michael Dunlop.

I state this cause from watching at Church Bends last evening, it was evident to me that Dan Kneen and the DTR BMW looked the better package in terms of outright pace.

Photo by Mark Corlett

With this in mind the Manxman will be confident of securing the Senior race title this evening, with another gripping battle in prospect against the already iconic combination of Bennetts Suzuki and Michael Dunlop.

Southern 100 – 600/1000 Race Results:

1 Michael Dunlop
2 Dan Kneen
3 Dean Harrison
4 Jamie Coward
5 Ivan Lintin
6 James Cowton
7 Rob Hodson
8 Mark Goodings
9 Michael Russell
10 Anthony Redmond
11 Mark Parrett
12 Davy Morgan
13 Michael Evans
14 Sam West
15 Joe Thompson
16 Daley Mathison
17 Jamie Williams
18 Stephen Parsons
19 Frank Gallagher
20 Brendan Fargher
21 Darryl Tweed
22 Brad Vicars
23 Rhys Hardisty
24 Stephen McKnight
25 Dean Osborne
26 Glenn Harrison
27 Tom Robinson
28 Dennis Booth

Words by Stevie Rial

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