A spectacular performance at the Bush National Road Races has seen William Dunlop move into third in the 2010 Duke Road Race Rankings, making him a genuine contender to take the title for the first time.
Just seven days after taking a hat-trick of wins at the Manx Telecom Post TT Races in the Isle of Man, Ballymoney's William Dunlop dominated the seventh round of the Duke Road Race Rankings Series, the Bush National Road Races.
He took four wins, a second place and five lap records during a day of racing at the 3.3078-mile closed roads course near Dungannon in County Tyrone, and was named Man of the Meeting.
His points haul moved him up two places in the Duke rankings, to third. He is now just 57 points behind Ian Hutchinson, who secured second with his record-breaking five wins at the 2010 Isle of Man TT, and 149 points behind runaway leader Ryan Farquhar, who skipped the event after a dispute with ruling body the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre).
Farquhar remains favourite for the title, which would be his fifth win, as Hutchinson is unlikely to figure in a round again until the Ulster Grand Prix, but on his current form Dunlop could produce a real challenge.
His brother Michael, who also didn't race at Bush, dropped to fourth, now 247 points down on William.
The highest mover is Davy Morgan, one of only two people other than Dunlop to claims wins at Bush. He took the Open Superbike race and secured a third and two fourths to move up 10 places in the rankings to 11th. The other race winner was Dungannon's John Burrows, who took the 650 SuperTwins victory, as well as a second and two thirds. That was enough to move him up five places to sixth.
Michael Pearson took a second in the Supersport race, fourth in the Open
Superbike and third in the Grand Final to climb five to ninth.
Czech newcomer Michal Dokoupil also impressed with a second in the
SuperTwins, seventh in the Open Superbike and a pair of fifth places in
the Supersport and the Grand Final on the AIR Kawasaki machines. That moves him up nine places to 13th.
The next round of the Duke Road Race Rankings is on Saturday July 3 at the Skerries National Road Races, held on the outskirts of Dublin.