Martin turns tables on Dunlop at Southern 100

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Guy Martin reversed the odds in the superbike class at the Southern 100 when he beat Michael Dunlop in last night’s Senior race – after Dunlop had won the previous evening.

But any chance of them continuing their on-track feud was scuppered when the 600 race was stopped for a crash and racing abandoned for the evening. Dunlop was leading Martin at the time of the red flag.

Martin’s margin of victory on the Relentless by TAS Suzuki was 0.047s and such was the pace of the action that, for the second evening running, his Street Sweep Kawasaki rival again smashed the outright lap record leaving it 112.393mph.

Racing had been delayed for almost an hour thanks to a diesel spillage by a car owner just as the roads were closing but once the action began it was as frantic as the previous night with Martin and Dunlop a class apart from their rivals on the superbikes.

But just as on the opening night, backmarkers played a crucial role in the outcome of the race even thought it had been cut from eight laps to six.

Martin said: “I got the luck tonight. We ran a similar pace all race and neither of us were going to get clear of the other. It’ll be the same on Thursday night in the main race and backmarkers will play an even bigger part with there being more laps.”

Dunlop added: “I just got caught for two or three laps and that was it but no dramas. People say tomorrow is the big one, but their all big ones to me.  But tomorrow night I’ll be making it personal.”

Ryan Farquhar finished third on his KMR Kawasaki – still unhappy with the performance and handling of his ZX-10R despite some improvements over the previous evening’s set-up. Conor Cummins was fourth ahead of fellow Manxman Dan Kneen.

Farquhar easily won the 650 (twins) race on his Kawasaki twin and William Dunlop – having slipped off his Wilson Craig Honda superbike in the 1000cc race at the slow-speed Ballabeg Hairpin – was a convincing winner of the 250cc (two-stroke) race – riding brother Michael’s TSR Honda, after close rival Chris Palmer was an early retirement.

The 600 race was shaping up to be yet another Michael Dunlop/Martin clash when it was red-flagged on the second lap. William Dunlop had broken down, ironically at Williams Corner, and was just pulling of the track by a marshal when two riders crashed behind him and one bike hit the marshal.

Dunlop said: “The marshal with a yellow flag stepped out for me to pull off into a gate and just as I did that, I heard the bikes crash behind me. One of them hit the marshal’s leg. It was horrible.”

The condition of the marshal at the time of writing was not confirmed, though both riders involved were said to be okay and the organising club issued a statement that no one had received life-threatening injuries.

Racing was abandoned for the evening due ‘to the condition of the course,’ and that police insisted on making a full investigation into the incident.

The final day of racing takes place on Thursday, starting at 10.20am, with a full day of seven races including the Solo Championship race for superbikes over nine laps.

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin