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Dunlop makes history at Southern 100
11 July 2012
Michael Dunlop became the first rider ever to lap the Billown circuit at 113mph as he seized victory in the Senior race at the Southern 100 tonight.
The Ulsterman beat Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin and Conor Cummins in a repeat of Tuesday evening's 600/1000cc result and wrapped up his third win from three starts later in the evening in the first Supersport race, edging out revitalised Manx ace Cummins and veteran Ian Lougher.
Dunlop, who had set a new absolute lap record of 112.589mph on Tuesday, raised the bar even further to 113.345mph as he wound up the wick to shake off Martin's challenge.
“I can't complain and I came here to try and lap at 113mph,” he said.
“It was some lap and the big bike is working lovely and I'm delighted with it.
“It was hairy at one stage when we hit backmarkers because it's a tight track and some of the sections are so fast.”
Martin, who also broke the 113mph barrier with a speed of 113.114mph, feels he has taken a step in the right direction with the set-up of his GSX-R1000.
“We'll sit down again tonight... but the bike was loads better, so we'll make a few more changes.”
Cummins, back to something like his old self after missing the TT through injury, was disappointed with third.
“I wanted better than that really,” said the 26-year-old.
“It's a podium but I want to be further up. The boys are on it, so I've got to pull my finger out and get with them.”
Dunlop hit the front on the first lap but was soon being pursued by Martin after Ryan Farquhar was a retirement on lap two.
Martin was only a second behind the Ballymoney rider at the half-way point and both went on to crack the 113mph mark on the fifth lap of eight as Cummins held a comfortable third ahead of Lougher, Dean Harrison and Jamie Hamilton.
The leading duo encountered backmarkers on laps six and seven and Dunlop made a break, eventually winning by almost five seconds.
Cummins was 27 seconds in arrears, followed by Lougher and newcomers Harrison and Hamilton.
Cummins seized an early lead in the Supersport race and stayed there until he was overtaken by Dunlop on lap four, who kept his nose in front until the end to win by 1.1 seconds with Lougher third.
Martin was a retirement, while the top six was completed by Jamie Coward, Michael Pearson and Harrison.
Dunlop set a new 600cc race record of 19m 08.005s as he sealed his third win of the week and starts as hot favourite in the blue riband championship races tomorrow.
Farquhar won the 250cc/Supertwin race by a few tenths of a second from his KMR Kawasaki team-mate Jamie Hamilton, who set a new lap record for the class at 101.239mph.
Chris Palmer was the first 250cc rider across the line as he finished third.
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