The 2018 Ulster Grand Prix came to a premature close today after just three races, due to the onset of bad weather in the afternoon.
After initially planning an actioned-packed Saturday of competition, featuring a timetabled seven races across all classes, the event was hit with multiple delays, due to separate incidents involving Frenchman Fabrice Miguet and Burrows Engineering Racing rider Davey Todd, as well as the onset of rain late in the afternoon at around 4pm, which then forced the cancellation of anymore action.
Miguet remains in a critical condition in hospital following an accident during the Superstock race, with Todd taken for treatment for suspected fractures sustained during the Superbike race.
This all followed a brief 20-minute practice session at the start of the day, which was topped by the Smiths Racing BMW S1000RR of Peter Hickman, who topped the timing sheets with a best lap of 3:18.848, at an average speed of 133.992mph.
In a revised schedule, the day’s competition began with the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock race, which was eventually cut-short by a red-flag after the leaders crossed the line to complete their fourth lap.
It was victory for Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison, who started the race from pole position on his Kawasaki ZX-10R. Harrison, who had already enjoyed a third place finish in Thursday’s Supersport race, led a close-fought contest against the Smiths Racing BMW of Peter Hickman, with the pair crossing the line just 0.203 seconds apart.
Behind them, it was another strong result for Padgett's Motorcycles’ Conor Cummins, who crossed the line to take third place, 5.131 seconds behind at an average speed of 130.967mph and add another podium finish to his victory in Thursday’s Supersport tie.
After the Superstockers it was the turn of the Whitemountain Centra Supersport class and a chance for Hickman to go one place better, grabbing victory from the Padgett's duo of Lee Johnston and Cummins, who finished second and third respectively.
Hickman eventually crossed the line after six laps with a comfortable lead of 7.935 seconds over Johnston, who claimed his first podium finish of the meeting. Just 0.041 seconds behind him came Manxman Cummins, unable to match his winning success from Thursday’s racing.
The trio of riders were joined by the Kawasaki of Harrison for the early stages of the race, however he was forced to retire at the end of lap four, with technical difficulties.
This allowed the McAdoo Kawasaki of Adam McLean to jump up to fourth place, ahead of the first of the Yamaha R6s, ridden by Michael Sweeney for MJR Racing.
It was the MMB Surfacing Superbike race that brought a close to the event. After an incident on the second lap involving Davey Todd brought a halt to proceedings, the race was again stopped and declared a result due to deteriorating weather conditions.
With retirements from Harrison and Cummins amongst others, the victory eventually went again to Hickman, who led the charge from a pursuing Johnston on the Honda Racing Fireblade.
Claiming his first rostrum of the week with a third place finish was the sole Tyco BMW entrant David Johnson, who ended the race 2.565 seconds adrift with a best lap time 3:31.112, a whole 1.839 seconds slower than Hickman’s best of 3:29.273. The result also marked the first podium finish on the roads for the BMW HP4 Race.
In fourth place, it was a strong showing for Paul Jordan for the Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki squad. Jordan crossed the line 9.029 seconds ahead of fifth place finisher Brian McCormack, riding the TAG Racing BMW S1000RR.
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