In bright, sunny and at times breezy conditions, the long awaited 'racing between the hedges' season finally got underway in Northern Ireland with the traditional opening event of the year, the Cookstown '100', blowing the winter cobwebs away, as no lessthan five lap records fell during an actioned packed programme of no less than 18 races!
Ryan Farquhar created history with his first ever hat-trick at the Orritor course, which included victory in the feature race of the meeting, the Cookstown 100 Race.
Riding at his 'local' event, the Dungannon ace continued his winning ways from the previous week at Oliver's Mount opened his account taking the chequered flag in the Open (Superbike) Race, the opening race of the Irish National Road Race Championship 2009, with his final victory of the day coming in the newly introduced 650cc Super Twins Race.
He also took runner-up spot in the Supersport 600cc race.
Throughout the day Farquhar repeated his battles of 2008 with Keith Amor, who took the Supersport victory, setting a new lap record in the process, one of three credited to Scot's ace during the day.
The Dunlop brothers shared the Lightweight honours, Michael collecting the 125cc race win, with William taking the 250cc chequered cloth by the merest three-hundredths of a second from Michael. William also setting a new lap record for the class.
After Ryan Farquhar's rich vein of success over the two opening rounds of the Duke Road Race Rankings Series 2009, it is no surprise that he now heads the table with a 149 points lead over Scunthorpe's Daniel Frear, who headed the rankings after the Ian Watson Spring Cup, 'Manxie' Chris Palmer drops to third spot. A brace of top-ten placing's keeps Michael Pearson in fourth position, whilst William Dunlop moves from 14th to 6th, with brother Michael entering the table in seventh, having been forced to miss Oliver's Mount due to his Norton TT publicity commitments.
Keith Amor slots into eighth place, as Ian Lougher drops down a position, with another Manxman, Conor Cummins filling tenth place.
After two rounds a total of 114 riders have now scored rankings points, with 24 new entries appearing after round two.
The third round, is the 50th anniversary Tandragee '100' National Road Races on Saturday 2nd May, followed by the first International event of the year, the North West '200' on May 16th.