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Cookstown 100: Dunlop has edge over Martin
27 April 2013
Northern Ireland's Michael Dunlop had the edge over old rival Guy Martin as the Irish national road racing season blasted off with the Cookstown 100 in Co Tyrone.
Dunlop won the Open Superbike race by almost four seconds from Tyco Suzuki rider Martin, with Dublin man Derek Sheils taking the final place on the rostrum.
The 24-year-old, who was riding his own Hunts Motorcycles/McAdoo Honda Fireblade for the first time this season following his commitments in the Endurance World Championship with the Honda TT Legends team, was in irrepressible form in the feature class.
Lincolnshire man Martin, fresh from a treble at the Scarborough Spring Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, gained the early advantage in the main Superbike race of the day but once Dunlop powered through to move into the lead he looked a certain winner barring a mistake.
Dunlop shattered Martin's previous outright lap record for the 2.1-mile Orritor circuit as he pulled away to complete a premier class double on his Fireblade, with Martin forced to settle for the runner-up spot ahead of Sheils.
Martin prevented Dunlop from sealing a treble as he secured the honours in the Supersport race on his GSX-R600 by 0.13s.
The Kirmington rider capitalised on a flying start to open up an advantage of almost four seconds over Dunlop, who found himself stuck behind slower riders during the opening laps.
Dunlop, though, began to rapidly reel in Martin and what had looked an insurmountable gap quickly diminished as the three-times Isle of Man TT winner closed on Martin's rear wheel on the final lap.
However, he had ultimately left himself too much to do and Martin held on to gain a hard-earned success.
William Dunlop failed to start the Superbike or Supersport races on his Milwaukee/CD Racing Yamaha R6, but won the 250cc event on brother Michael's TSR Honda.
The Irish national road racing season continues with the Tandragee 100 on May 4 prior to the first international meeting of the season, the North West 200, on May 18.
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