Michael Sweeney eyes Superbike title success

Fan-favorite Michael Sweeney toasted his second Irish hat-trick of the season with a dominating hat-trick at the Country Crest Skerries 100 yesterday.

he Republic of Ireland rider is now aiming to win the Superbike title for the first time after extending his lead at the top of the standings.

Sweeney, who was lucky to escape after a high-speed crash during testing at the Isle of Man TT last month, won both Superbike races on the 2.92-mile County of Dublin yesterday on his BMW MJR.

He also scored an impressive triumph in the Supertwin race on his Kawasaki.

“The Superbike title is the one I want this year,” Sweeney said.

“It would be nice to have that one, but it will never be easy. The fat bike is fine after we had some handling issues with it at the TT.

“I have done a quadruple in the national races before (at Killalane in 2019), but I had never done a hat-trick in the north before until we did it at Cookstown.

“It’s nice to get some wins on the board for all my sponsors and the guys for all the effort they put into me.”

Starting from pole, Sweeney has always had the upper hand in Open Superbike racing as he opened his account yesterday in style, closing the victory by two seconds over Mike Browne of Cork (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki) after seven laps.

Darryl Tweed, driving a Honda 600 for the Wilson Craig Racing team, finished third, half a minute behind. James Chawke and Mullingar man Thomas Maxwell completed the top five, with Damian Horan in sixth. Sweeney doubled in the Supertwin race on his Kawasaki, taking his second win of the weekend 13 seconds clear of fellow Southern Irishman Eoin O’Siochru in the five-lap race.

However, the man of the moment had to settle for second place in a scintillating Supersport race after battling to the end with Browne.

The duo, both on Yamaha R6 machines, pulled well away from Tweed in third as they battled for victory, with Browne – back to an Irish national road race for the first time since he broke his ankles in a crash at the Cookstown 100 in April – hanging on to win by just under three-tenths of a second on the final lap.

Ballymoney man Tweed was 14 seconds down in third.

Browne scored a one-two finish with a classic run on the Burrows Honda in the Moto3/125GP race four seconds behind O’Siochru.

However, it was Sweeney who had the final say when it came to the showpiece Superbike Grand Final race, which was cut to five laps after a minor red flag incident.

The local man took the lead and never looked back, pulling away on every lap to win by four seconds over Browne, with the regular Tweed again taking the checkered flag in third.

Meanwhile, 21-time TT winner Michael Dunlop’s debut at Imatra in Finland proved frustrating after the Ballymoney rider failed to record a finish in any of the three Superbike races.

Dunlop was plagued with machine problems on the Penz13.com Honda at the IRRC round and will now be aiming to make amends at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, which takes place at the Billown course next week from July 11 to 14.

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