Kilkenny man Richie Ryan is back in Superbike action after a nine-month lay-up due to covid restrictions, and what a return it was as well.
The local man won one of the three races of the weekend getting out in front in race two on Saturday and staying there till the chequered flag.
Richie also grabbed pole position, finished third in race one and second place in the third race.
Ryan now leads the championship by a healthy margin from Derek Sheils and Luke Johnston, in joint second, while Michael Sweeney sits fourth.
On the track
The headline Superbike championship produced a rare outcome, with three different riders taking wins, while Supersport had two different winners as five riders shared the podium positions.
The first Master’s Championship races for nine months attracted the biggest grids the championship has ever seen with the Superbike, Supersport, and Twins entries oversubscribed. The Superbike class saw a record forty-two riders contest qualifying to see who would take the thirty-three spaces on the championship race grid and it was triple champion Richie Ryan who grabbed pole position from long-time rival Luke Johnston and the returning Derek Sheils.
Saturday’s race one was a battle between the front row starters with Sheils leading initially from Johnston and Ryan.
Feeling the pressure from Ryan, on lap two Johnston moved to take the lead and then held on for the remainder of the race to take a narrow win from Sheils and Ryan. The Superbike Cup class saw Evan O’Grady take his first-class win from James Rowe and Dean O’Grady.
Race two for Superbike was a Richie Ryan benefit as he broke away right from the start and was never challenged. Sheils, Johnston, and Michael Sweeney chased hard but could not close the gap. Sheils retired at half distance leaving Ryan to win by eight seconds from Johnston and Sweeney, who grabbed his first Masters Superbike podium.
Declan Madden was a first-time winner in the Cup class from O’Grady and Rowe.
The final Superbike race was interrupted by a crash and was restarted as a four-lap dash. Sheils led all the way in the re-run to make it three different Superbike winners for the first time at a Masters event. Ryan and Johnston followed Sheils until the race one winner crashed out leaving Ryan second and Sweeney third.
Ryan now leads the championship by a healthy margin from Sheils and Johnston, in joint second, while Sweeney sits fourth.
In the Cup class, a second win gave Evan O’Grady the championship lead with Madden second and Dean O’Grady third.
The Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship returns to Mondello Park on July 24th and 25th for three more rounds on the National Track layout.