Michael Dunlop opened the 2012 Steam-Packet.com Southern 100 races with a blistering win in the Corlett’s Trophies 1000cc race last night (Tuesday).
The MD Racing Honda rider quickly dispensed with fast-starting Ryan Farquhar to dominate the eight-lap, 34-mile race on the demanding 4.25mile Billown road course on the outskirts of Castletown in the south of the Isle of Man.
Despite an oil leak which meant his boot was slipping off the left foot-peg from as early as the second lap, all-action Dunlop set a new 1000cc lap record of 112.589mph on the fourth lap to see off a challenge from Tyco TAS Suzuki rider Guy Martin and crossed the line 3.0s clear.
Dunlop said: “Aye, it was a good craic. I got a gap and chilled. It’s good to be back to real road racing, running some real corner speed after riding on the tighter tracks back home. I’m feeling the love.”
Conor Cummins finished second in his first competitive race of the season on the second of the Tyco Suzukis after Farquhar – with fading brakes on his KMR Kawasaki - overshot Castletown Corner, the final bend on the course on the last lap.
Ian Lougher rode a lonely race to fifth place on his ILR Kawasaki while KMR Kawasaki rider Jamie Hamilton got the better of Dean Harrison’s Kawasaki for sixth in a race-long battle of the two Southern 100 rookies.
Ivan Lintin came out top in the 600 class run concurrently with the 1000s on opening race night – but the Kawasaki rider was only 0.4s clear after a close scrap with Suzuki rider Jamie Coward.
Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle won the opening six-lap Sidecar race in Reeve’s first time on the Southern 100 course. The LCR Honda crew crossed the line 7.5s clear of Ian and Carl Bell’s LCR Yamaha.
Ben and Tom Birchall, another Southern 100 rookie crew, were third riding an LCR Honda.
Dean Harrison’s dad Conrad, teamed with Dipash Chauhun finished fourth on their Shelbourne Honda.