After dominating all four practice sessions at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, Relentless Suzuki by TAS star Guy Martin had looked odds-on favourite to triumph in the opening race of the 2011 meeting – but he found himself narrowly pipped to the chequered flag by Kawasaki rival Michael Dunlop.
Martin led seven of the eight laps of the Corlett's Trophies 600/1000cc event around the 4.25-mile Billown Circuit, but a bold move just two corners from home saw Dunlop edge him out by just over a tenth of a second at the flag.
Both riders dipped underneath the old lap record during the race, and such was their searing pace, third-placed Cameron Donald wound up more than 18 seconds adrift of the leading duo, with William Dunlop fourth, Ryan Farquhar fifth and Dan Kneen sixth.
“We knackered the job on the last lap, but we'll be alright,” Martin remarked in characteristically forthright fashion. “I had a tiny little problem on the last lap and I got caught a bit with backmarkers – no excuses mind – but we know what it is, and we'll have it fixed for the next one.
“We have another three or four goes here this week. We were both well inside the lap record there; we were some distance in front of the rest, as you can see by the lap times. The big bike is working well and the little 'un is flying, so the job's a good 'un.”
Wednesday evening sees the eight-lap Total Oils Senior race at 6:20pm, with the eight-lap Radcliffe Butchers' 600cc encounter at 8pm, whilst on Thursday, the eight-lap S&S Motors' 600cc outing at 11:10am is followed by the nine-lap Manx Gas Solo Championship Race at 3pm. An open-air presentation in Castletown Market Square concludes proceedings at 8:30pm.