Sunday, April 17

Coates, Johnston and Mawhinney make Bishopscourt Masters Superbike Championship gains

Pics: Derek Wilson

Nikki Coates was the biggest winner at the second event of the Masters Superbike Championship at Bishopscourt today (Saturday April 16th) as he closed in on the championship leader in both Superbike and Supersport. Others to benefit in the points standings on a day when the results were mixed around compared to the opening event of the season, were Luke Johnstone In Supersport and Nico Mawhinney in Superbike

The first feature race of the day saw a frantic five way battle at the front between Coates, Jason Lynn, guest rider Dan Kneen, Luke Johnston and Ross Patterson. As the laps counted down it was Lynn and Coates leading but then an incident between them saw Lynn out of the race while Coates continue to take the flag. Ross Patterson picked up his best Masters result with second on the road, which was later to become his maiden win when Coates was disqualified, meaning Kneen was promoted to second with Johnston taking third. Championship leader Richie Ryan was fifth to strengthen his hold on the top spot.

Race two saw a repeat of the Lynn, Coates battle with Kneen, Johnston and Ryan also involved. Ryan began to move towards the front but then crashed out leaving a four way lead battle. The lead swapped a number of times but at the flag it was again Coates who was first, this time holding on to the win from Lynn and Kneen. Coates championship aspirations along with those of Johnston were helped by Patterson not starting and Ryan's tumble, which allow them both finish the weekend having closed on the leader.

The Supersport Cup was an Aaron Clifford benefit as the Championship leader continued to rack up the victories, taking two more wins. Impressively the teenager was able to run with the Pro riders in race two matching times with the leaders and finishing fifth overall, just over a second off top spot. Shane Sweeney and John Matthews took second and third in both races

The Superbike races had almost as much controversy as Supersport as race stoppages peppered the action. The first race was abandoned after two red flags, the second one a lengthy one due to injuries to Ryan Rainey. When the race eventually ran later in the day it once again had to be stopped this time due to a short sharp flurry of hailstones. With a result finally declared it was Nico Mawhinney who came through to take his first ever Masters win. Coates finished second with Kneen once again on the podium for Mar-Train Yamaha on his Bishopscourt debut.

The second race managed to run its full distance but once again the weather intervened as rain fell for the second half of the race. Mawhinney took a more comfortable win this time around, from the impressive Kneen who kept up his 100% podium record. Coates finished third to move even closer to series leader Robert English who could not back up his pair of wins at rounds 1 and 2, while Mawhinney's two wins move him right into contention despite having missed the first event of the season.

Charles Stuart dominated the Superbike Cup in both races winning easily from Superbike novice Jonny Harvey. Only two Cup riders made the main race meaning that third in the Cup went to the 'B' race winner. Cathal Berrill filled this position in race one while Barry Sheehan mugged him for the race two win on the run to the line.

The Principal Insurance Pre-Injection races were also ones to suffer from race stoppages but when the races were completed it was Paul McCrea who led the championship. The 2015 title holder took his first win of the year in race one, from his main championship rivals Stephen Doyle and Kevin Dempsey, but made his biggest gain when both of them failed to finish race two allowing him to move into a seven point lead.

The next Masters event runs on at Mondello Park on May 7th and 8th with the two day event being the first of 2016 to feature three rounds for each class while the Masters will be back at Bishopscourt again in August.

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