Alan Auerbach continued his domination of the 2017 Stryker Champion when the class made their first visit of the season to Kirkistown circuit on the Ards peninsula in Northern Ireland. Auerbach clinched pole position but, as in the previous rounds at Mondello Park, was closely followed by class stalwart Andy D’Alton, who joined him on the front row of the grid.
When the lights went out, it was Auerbach who led away, but as the qualifying times had sugggested, this was going to be no walk in the park for the thus far unbeaten Civic Media backed machine. D’Alton had all but matched him off the line and tracked the leader in the early stages, making a few unsuccessful attempts to wrest the lead away into Colonial. The duo pulled well clear of the pack, led by Greg Kelly. Unfortunately for D’Alton, his machine ground to a halt on the final our, a diff failure being later diagnosed as the cause. He did however have the consolation of having set the fastest lap as he chased down the leader. This left Auerbach well clear and he took his ninth chequered flag of the season for an impressive victory. Greg Kelly was second from Paul Yeomans in third.
As the competitors lined up in the assembly area for their second race of the day a few drops of rain began to fall. By the time they had been released onto the circuit to form up on the grid it had turned to a full on deluge. There was a little confusion on the grid and as a result the start was messy but once again Auerbach led the pack away towards Debtors, aiming for win number ten and the championship title. Bill Griffin and Des Bruton though, were proving to be quite the rainmeisters as they tracked the champion elect in the early stages, the group even managing to overhaul most of the more powerful NI Roadsports machines as the race progressed. Meanwhile class newbies Conal Shipman and Nicole Drought were scything their way up through the grid line astern, both relishing the wet conditions.
At the flag it was Alan Auerbach to take an incredible tenth win of the season and with it, the 2017 Stryker Championship. Bill Griffin was second with birthday boy Des Bruton completing the podium. Shipman was an impressive fourth from Roger Welaratne while Nicole Drought charged back to sixth after a mid race spin dropped her to the back.
STRYKER RACE 1 (13 laps):
1 Alan Auerbach 14m 27.13s, 81.60 mph,
2 Greg Kelly 14m 41.05s,
3 Paul Yeomans 14m 44.88s,
4 Roger Welaratne,
5 Des Bruton,
6 Bill Griffin.
Fastest lap: Andrew D’Alton 1m 05.484s, 83.12 mph.
STRYKER RACE 2 (8 laps):
1 Alan Auerbach 10m 33.57s, 68.73 mph,
2 Bill Griffin 10m 45.06s,
3 Des Bruton 10m 48.63s,
4 Conal Shipman,
5 Roger Welaratne,
6 Nicole Drought.
Fastest lap: Bruton 1m 14.717s, 72.85 mph.
Header Image from Michael Chester.