by Andrea Campbell
Bruce Anstey (Relentless Suzuki) leads lan Hutchinson (Padgett's Honda), Keith Amor (KBMG BMW), Cameron Donald (Relentless Suzuki) and Guy Martin (Craig Honda) home in the second Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix. PlCTURE BY STEPHEN DAVlSON
BRUCE Anstey, originally from New Zealand, but currently based in London proved that his career is far from over — despite being 41 years old - setting a new world speed record of 133.977mph at Dundrod last weekend.
The ever smiling Anstey saved the best for last in the final race setting a blistering pace during the five lap dash around the 7.401 mile County Antrim road circuit. Not the quickest rider off the line, in fact the Kiwi was down in fifth place on the opening lap, which saw Ian Hutchinson take the early lead in a bid to make it four race wins in a day. But Anstey was soon on the pace, moving through the battling pack like a 'hot knife through butter'. With only a small blanket covering the top three, Falkirk's Keith Amor on the KBMG BMW Superstock bike holding on just to the short tales of the Padgett's Honda of Hutching and the Suzuki Superbike of Anstey at the chequered linen. After five hot laps it was Anstey who claimed victory to the delight of the tens of thousands of gathered fans and in the process setting a new lap record of 133.977 mph. making Anstey the fastest road racer in the world — taking the title of previous holder, the injured Conor Cummins who set the pace twelve months ago also around Dundrod.
Local interest in this hotly contested race was Crumlin's Stephen Thompson who managed to take his "The People's Bike" to twelve place.
Martin continued to amaze the fans in the opening Superbike race when on lap five of the six laps he briefly snatched the lead at Wheeler's and although by the Quarries section it was Hutchinson who was back in control, although it had been Amor who set the early race pace, leading ahead of Hutchinson. While Amor, Hutchinson and Anstey battled for the top honours on the podium, Michael Dunlop and Gary Johnston battled it out for the last two top six placings. At the chequered linen it was Hutchinson who got the nod, just ahead of Anstey and Amor, with Martin relegated back to fourth place, with Dunlop holding of Johnston for fifth place. Thompson made it to the final top ten placing for his first Superbike outing of the day in tenth place, while Lisburn man Ivan Shanley claimed 17th place.
Amor, Hutchinson and Martin were all involved in the hot action during the Superstock race, where Dungannon man Ryan Farquhar was one of the hot favourites to take the spoils alongside Amor. However despite getting away with Amor and Hutchinson in the early stages, Farquhar's immaculately prepared and normally reliable KMR Kawasaki began leaking oil onto his foot pegs, even with the oil leak the Killyman flyer still managed to lap at 131 mph.
As the laps progressed Farquhar was eventually dropped from the leading duo of Amor and Hutchinson and on the fourth lap Hutchinson made a pass on Amor and led over the line on lap five, which proved to be a blessing for the Bingley man as the race had to be red flagged a lap later when Lincolnshire rider Dave Hewson was involved in an incident at Quarterland's which saw two spectators also injured along with Hewson.
Although Amor and Hutchinson had crossed the line on lap, six in that order, unfortunately for Amor the organisers were forced to take the result from the previous lap, handing Hutchinson his opening race win of the day ahead of Amor with Farquhar being credited with third place, having dropped back to fifth place behind Lougher and Johnston on the final lap. There was disappointment for Thompson when he failed to finish the race, but it was better luck for Shanley who ended the race in 16th place. Meanwhile Grand Prix newcomer, Hillsborough's Gareth Evans finished a creditable 26th place and in the process set his personal best for the Dundrod circuit, lapping at 118 mph, having lapped at 117 mph during Thursday's Dundrod 150 races.
Amor and Hutchinson renewed their battle on the track during the Supersport races with Hutchinson snatching victory from under the Scots man, pushing him back to second place. Shanley was unfortunately registered as a DNF this time around.
There was drama at the start of the second Supersport race, when Cameron Donald, Gary Johnston, Ian Lougher and Ballymoney's Adrian Archibald failed to line up on the grid. However this did not stop the Hutchinson / Amor battle from taking centre stage once more. Amor was again the early pace setter, but it wasn't long before Hutchinson was back in control, however it was to be short lived when the race was red flagged after four laps when a rider dramatically crashed over the finishing line. It seems the rider involved in the incident was heading towards pit lane, but was going too fast and decided at the last moment to continue down the race track and crashed out. On the restart over three laps Amor was the man determined to take victory and at the end of the three lap dash was first past the finishing post, taking the victory ahead of Hutchinson with William Dunlop making up for the first Supersport race disappointment, taking third place ahead of his brother Michael.
The concurrently run 250GP and Supertwins race saw the only victory for a local rider on Saturday. William Dunlop would normally be the victor in most 250GP races in 2010, but his Honda was no match for the Dromore based Welshman, Ian Lougher's rocket ship ex Grand Prix Honda. Lougher dominated the race, taking a start to finish race victory ahead of Dunlop who in turn was well ahead of third place, his cousin, Paul Robinson. Lisburn rider Darren Burns was in the mix with the 250's but was an early retirement.
While Lougher was dominating the 250's Farquhar was resuming normal services also taking the win in the Supertwins race and claiming a local victory.