Northern Ireland's Michael Dunlop opened his account at the 2012 Southern 100 in style tonight with an emphatic victory over Guy Martin.
Dunlop smashed the lap record for the premier class with an average speed of 112.589mph at the Billown circuit in the Isle of Man to defeat Tyco Suzuki's Martin by three seconds.
Conor Cummins finished third on his return from injury in the eight-lap Corlett's Trophies 600/1000cc race.
Dunlop was in a class of his own on his Honda Fireblade as he led from start to finish and was never troubled by his rivals.
The 23-year-old said: “I'm back. That's what you call real racing with a fast circuit, high-speed corners and good lads.
“There was oil coming from the bike so it was good craic over the bumps with the feet off the pegs.
“I rode hard, got a gap and then just chilled out.”
Runner-up Martin added: “Second is second, isn't it? This is the best meeting of the year and we've got a couple more big bike races to come.”
Cummins was thrilled to be back on the podium after missing the Isle of Man TT due to a wrist injury sustained at the North West 200.
“It's lovely to be back on the podium after all the pain in the backside I've had over the past couple of month," he said.
“My hand is spot on and this is my first proper race on this bike this year so I'm absolutely delighted and the Tyco Suzuki worked fantastic.”
KMR Kawasaki rider Ryan Farquhar finished fourth after being overhauled by Cummins on the final lap, with Ian Lougher and young Northern Irishman Jamie Hamilton on the second KMR machine an excellent sixth.
Ivan Lintin won the concurrently run 600cc event, setting a new lap record for the race at 106.307mph.
Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle won the Sidecar event.
Racing continues on the Billown circuit tomorrow and concludes with the feature races on Thursday.