Sunshine greeted riders and the large crowd that flocked to the 49th Tandragee 100 road races. While the sun shone a cool breeze came along with it but it certainly did not cool down the action as a week on from the Cookstown 100, the Southern riders picked up from where they left off, by taking the spoils again. The opening race of the day began with the Supersport 600 race, where the “ Mullingar Missile “ Derek McGee onboard his Kawasaki ZX6R had his hands full as he was pressed hard by Adam McLean (also on a Kawasaki ZX6R), all the way to the chequered flag. An enthralling race for start to finish as both men swapped the lead several times but it was McGee took the top step on the podium by 0.3 seconds from McLean with Derek Sheils a further ten seconds back in third.
For the open race the riders brought out their Superbike machines and produced another highly entertaining race for the packed grandstands and hedgerows. Derek Sheils, onboard his Burrows Engineering Suzuki GSXR 1000, slotted in behind poleman Derek McGee who made the holeshot on his Kawasaki ZX10RR. Michael Sweeney on his BMW1000RR and Adam McLean on his Kawasaki ZX10RR. While the foursome stayed together for the first half of the race, Sheils and McGee broke away towards the end with Sheils coming out on top this time from McGee and McLean to make it two open races from two this season.
For the Supertwins race, Derek McGee and Adam McLean once again faced each other. McGee taking the lead from the off with the hard charging McLean right behind. Mclean then dropped time after a mistake on the final corner on the penultimate lap. Sadly for him on the final lap he crashed causing the race to be stopped. A statement from McAdoo Racing Team said
“Adam is in the Royal Hospital, Belfast after an accident in the Supertwin race. He has arm, shoulder and pelvic injuries but is in really good spirits and making jokes in the hospital. (We’re) so proud of the lad. Twenty two years old and pushing to win these races against way more experienced guys.”
The race was declared giving McGee the win with Sweeney second and Neil Kernohan third. Sadly for McLean the injuries he sustained means that he will miss the upcoming North West 200.
For the big race of the day the Grand Final the southern trio of McGee, Sheils and Sweeney produced the race of the day. Back onboard their Kawasaki, Suzuki and BMW Superbike machines respectively, they locked horns for the entire race. It was encouraging to see Sweeney stay with his Southern counterparts as he had struggled to match their pace in the Open and Supersport races earlier. McGee led from the off but lost the lead on the penultimate lap when Sheils made his move. Determined not to loose on the big bikes for the second time he retook the lead on the final lap and crossed the line by 0.195 seconds to win the final race of the day. Michael Sweeney was also right there too and took the final step of the podium which was covered by less than a second.
In the support races, fans favourite Guy Martin brought his BSA Rocket home to win the 1000cc classic class race. The 500 cc classic race went to Dean Stimpson and the 250 cc classic race went to Brian Mateer with Barry Davidson taking the 350cc classic race which all ran together.
The Junior Support race went to Kevin Baker onboard his Kawasaki ER6 from Eoin O’Siochru and Vinny Brennan.
The Senior Support race went to on his Andy McAllister comfortably from Darren Keys and Darryl Anderson.
The lightweight race went to Derek McGee from Paul Williams and Darryl Anderson to make it four wins and a second for his days efforts.
An excellent days racing was provided by the country’s top road racing stars in the May sunshine, keeping the crowd on their feet all day. Next up is the big North West 200 where our stars will challenge their UK counterparts for glory.
Report and Images: Barry Cregg
Header Image caption: Derek McGee, Kawasaki ZX10RR, leads Derek Shiels, Suzuki GSXR 1000 on his way to winning the Grand Final race during the Around A Pound Tandragee 100 Road Races.