14 July 2010
Michael Dunlop wins the rain-hit opening Southern 100 race
Michael Dunlop is celebrating after taking his first Southern 100 win at the end of a tough race in challenging conditions on the Isle of Man's Billown course.
The Total Oil Senior race – the first of the 2010 Southern 100 schedule - went to Michael Dunlop after he managed to hold off veteran Ian Lougher for five laps and secure victory by just four seconds.
Dunlop had announced his intentions by dominating both 1000cc practice sessions on Monday, held in perfect conditions, and the Tuesday evening practice session, where he was seven seconds ahead of his nearest rival despite a wet track, driving rain and strong winds.
Dunlop and Lougher were in a class of their own, the Ulster-based Welshman losing time to his young rival in the early stages, but clawing back some of the deficit as the laps unfolded.
As the machines crossed the line at the end of six laps of the 4.25-mile road course, Dunlop's Honda held a 5 second advantage over Lougher's Blackhorse Kawasaki. However, there was surprise when Ryan Farquhar, who had held third throughout on his KMR Kawasaki, failed to complete the lap and OTSS Racing Kawasaki-mounted Mark Buckley was recorded home in third.
It turned out Michael Pearson, one of the stars of practice, had come off his Morrell Kawasaki at Ballakeighan on the final lap, bringing out the red flag. Pearson was reported to be okay after the off.
Organisers issued revised results, taken at the end of lap five, which reinstated Farquhar in third, more than 25 seconds down on second-placed Lougher, who trailed Dunlop by just over four seconds.
Buckley secured fourth, followed by James McBride and TAS Suzuki star Cameron Donald, making his first appearance at the Southern 100 since his victorious debut in 2006.
With weather conditions deteriorating it was decided to abandon the evening's second race, for 600cc machines. It is now planned for that race to go ahead over six laps at the end of this evening's race schedule of four six-lap races.
Michael Dunlop again starts as favourite after leading all three 600cc practice sessions on his Yamaha, including the rain-hit session before Tuesday's Senior race – when he headed Pearson by 3 seconds with a best speed of 96.188mph on the wet course.
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