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Irish rider Wayne Kirwan wins Junior race at Manx GP

Wayne Kirwan toasts glorious return to Manx Grand Prix with victory in Junior race after missing event last year
Irish rider Wayne Kirwan claimed his maiden success on the Mountain Course in this afternoon's Manx Grand Prix Junior race on his Yamaha R6.

Kirwan, from Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland, won the four-lap race by almost 27 seconds from Mike Minns from Durham, with Northern Ireland's Stephen McKnight finishing on the rostrum in third.

It was a sweet victory for Kirwan, who finished as the runner-up in the Junior and Senior races in 2010 before missing the event last year.

Yorkshire's Jamie Coward was a big pre-race favourite after setting the quickest lap of practice at 119mph, but his race was over on the first lap when he crashed at Laurel Bank.

That left Dromore man McKnight to move into the lead from Skerries rider Michael Sweeney at Glen Helen for the first time, but Kirwan was making up ground in third place.

On lap two, Mike Minns was the leader by Ramsey but less than a second covered the top three, with McKnight and Kirwan snapping at his heels.

However, Kirwan's crew completed a superb pit stop at the end of the second lap which proved decisive and by Glen Helen on the penultimate lap he had an advantage of almost 18 seconds over Minns, with McKnight a further seven seconds adrift.

Manx rider Paul Smyth briefly moved into third on lap three but crashed at Keppel Gate without serious injury.

Kirwan rode steadily to the finish to maintain his lead over Minns and McKnight, completing the four-lap race in a time of 1h 19m 26.46s, an average speed of 113.986mph.

Kirwan also set the fastest lap of the race on his third lap at 115.579mph.

Sweeney eventually finished in seventh place ahead of Alan Jackson, with Trevor Ferguson 11th.

Newcomer James Cowton, winner of the Lightweight Newcomers race on Saturday, was a magnificent fourth, while Antrim's John Simpson finished 14th on the Splitlath Redmond Triumph 675.

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