Jul 23, 2016
Robert English extended his Masters Superbike Championship lead with two more wins on Mondello Park’s National Circuit on July 16th & 17th. The IFS Yamaha rider looked like he would be unstoppable following wins in Saturday’s Round 8 and Sunday’s Round 9, but Nikki Coates finally found a way to beat him in Round 10, the final race of the weekend’s action.
In Saturday’s round 8 Coates had to watch English disappear into the distance as he was left to battle with Cody Nally for second place. Declan Hoey and Brian McCormack were also in contention until a big accident at Bridgestone Corner put McCormack out. At the flag it was English from Coates, Nally, Hoey and the returning Peter Moloney.
Sunday’s Round 9 followed much the same pattern as the first race after initial leader Hoey faded. Such was English’s advantage in the final laps that he could back of at the end to conserve his tyres allowing Coates and Nally to close in. Behind the top three Hoey was a faller allowing Moloney to pick up fourth place ahead of Mark Glasgow.
The final race of the day was by far the best, despite English initially looking like he was going to disappear again. A very determined Coates gradually reeled the Yamaha rider in and then passed him at Bridgestone corner. English was not ready to give in and tried everything he knew despite also having to deal with pressure from Nally. This time Coates had enough and held on to win his first Superbike race, finishing less than two tenths ahead of the championship leader. Nally made it three podiums from the three races with Moloney once again fourth ahead of Glasgow. The results of the three races left English with a net gain of five points and the championship now looking like a two horse race between English and Coates. Nally moved up to third but is well adrift.
The Superbike Cup went to Charles Stuart in all three races as he maintained his 100% winning record in the 2016 Championship. The remaining podium places were filled by five different riders with Stuart’s main championship rival, Barry Sheehan, only managing to make it up there once with second in the final race.
The Supersport class produced even more action than Superbike and again Coates was right in the thick of things throughout. In Saturday’s first race of the weekend Coates and Jason Lynn had yet another coming together, putting both out before they had completed a lap and putting them down the grid for race 2. With them out it was left to Richie Ryan and Luke Johnston to renew their Round 7 rivalry as Ryan came from behind to beat Johnston to the flag, ahead of third placed Dean McMaster. Aaron Clifford continued his move towards the front as he finished fourth and took another ‘Cup’ win.
Sunday’s Supersport opener was once again a Ryan, Johnston battle, which followed the same pattern as Round 8, with Ryan biding his time and then picking his rival off in the latter stages. With Coates and Lynn starting down the grid Clifford held on to third place, right on the coat-tails of the leaders, but missed out on his first ever overall podium as Coates nipped by him on the second last lap.
With Coates and Lynn back in the mix for round 10 a five way battle raged at the front until a mechanical problem caused Ryan to suddenly slow while lying second, splitting the lead group up. Ryan’s troubles eventually led to his retirement handing Johnston his second win of the season and a healthy eleven point lead in the championship. Lynn finished second with Coates once again third and Clifford in fourth completing his hat-trick of cup wins.
The Championship returns to Bsishopscourt for its next event, hitting the Co. Down circuit for rounds eleven and twelve on Sunday August 20th.
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