The 2018 Faugheen 50 sponsored by Merry Garage and Hillside Motors, produced another cracking weekends racing, and the two day event, run in beautiful weather, and organised by the Faugheen club, saw Derek McGee once more dominate the weekends proceedings, taking five wins from five starts, with two lap records and the Man of the Meeting award, to go with the four wins at Walderstown and the five at Enniskillen.
McGee actually broke two more lap records in practice, but unfortunately they don’t count. The “Mullingar Missile” is in brilliant form ever since his second place at the Isle of Man TT, and there is no doubt that he will carry that form into the final International of the year, the Ulster Grand Prix in a few weeks time. Before that he will have the Armoy road races next Saturday, and he will be out to better his record of three Irish Championships last year.
Practice and qualifying took place on Saturday, and afterwards the club ran two non-championship races for the Junior and Senior Support classes. The Junior race was a cracker, with Barry Sheehan and Liam Chawke locked together for the five lap race, with Martin Currams coming through the field from the second group, on corrected time. It was the battle for the lead that had the sun kissed crowd cheering as both riders crossed the line almost together, but it was Sheehan who got the verdict by just 0.191 of a second, over Chawke, with Martin Currams third. Lusk rider Darren O’Rourke was unfortunate to slip off on the fifth lap, and he received a minor arm injury, but unfortunately destroying his race helmet.
The Senior Support race was an easy win for Michael Browne who continued his great form from Skerries, and he took the win from Wayne Sheehan by almost 12 seconds, with Liam Chawke third.
Faugheen is a real typical rural Ireland village, with one pub and a church, and the club had to wait to start racing until 11am as there was mass being said in the church. The start was further delayed by almost one hour, after a marshal took a heart attack, and the air ambulance was called to take the unfortunate man to Cork Hospital.
The first race was the Superbike Championship, and McGee was in flying form, as he produced the fastest lap of the race on lap three to break the opposition with a speed of 106.168mph, and it was left to local rider Brian McCormack to put up the best opposition, as he finished second, almost 8 seconds adrift of McGee, with Davy Todd third. Micko Sweeney was dicing with Todd as they approached the village of Faugheen, but he hit a false neutral and had to take the slip road. He rejoined the race to finish in 7th.
Michael Browne once more dominated the Senior Support race on his 600 Kawasaki, and this time he took the win from Wayne Sheehan by over 15 seconds, with Liam Chawke just behind in third.
Daryl Tweed has been dominating the 400 class this year, and his run in the class continued as he took the win from Stephen Tobin, who was making his season debut, by 5.6 seconds, with Stephen Morrison third. John Ella was the best 250 in the class.
McGee’s next win came in the 125/Moto 3 class, and riding the Joey’s Bar Moto 3 he smashed the old lap record, and put in a speed of 92.025mph, to beat Kevin Fitzpatrick by over 28 seconds, with Melissa Kennedy in third just ahead of the returning Gary Dunlop. Sean Leonard finished in 6th place.
Brian Mateer continued his rich vein of form in the Classic 250 race, and with his nearest rival and championship leader Richard Ford retiring on the sighting lap, he took his handiest win of the season over Philip Shaw by 12 seconds, with Alex McVicker third.
The 350 Classic race looked like it was going to be a repeat of last year’s race between Barry Davidson and Ed Manly, but the Cullybackey rider put in the fastest lap of the race on lap three to break the tow, and take the win by almost 7 seconds, from Manly, with Sean Leonard coming through from a bad start to take a fine third place.
Win number three for McGee came in the 600 race, and it was Paul Jordan who put it up to him, as he chased McGee for the whole of the race. McGee broke the lap record in practice on Saturday that stood to Ryan Farquhar since 2009, but he was just outside it in the race. Lapping at 103.350mph on lap three, McGee had done just enough to keep Jordan at bay, and at the flag the gap was 1.512 seconds, with Micko Sweeney taking third place.
Liam Chawke finally got the win he deserved in the all important championship Junior Support race, when he got the better of a race long duel with Barry Sheehan, and at the flag he took the win by just 0.591 of a second from Sheehan, who put in the fastest lap of the race on the final circuit at 91.960 mph. Stephen Morrison finished in a fine third. Darren O’Rourke got the loan of a helmet, and he finished in 10th place.
Win number 4 for McGee came in the 650 class, and a new engine from his sponsor Ryan Farquhar, saw him dominate the race to such an extent that Davy Todd was almost 16 seconds adrift at the flag, with Thomas Maxwell showing more of the form that we know he has, taking a fine third place after a race long duel with Michael Browne who finished just 0.400 of a second behind Maxwell. Darren O’Rourke finished in 13th place.
Ed Manly and Barry Davidson renewed their rivalry in the 500 Classic race, and it was Manly who took the lead at the end of lap one. By lap three he had broken his old lap record, and was almost five seconds ahead of Davidson, but as he approached Carrick Corner on the final lap, he passed two riders but left it too late to brake, and try as he might to stop the bike, he just couldn’t and slipped off, thankfully uninjured. Davidson was delighted to pick up the win, and it was English rider John Lee Pemberton who took his best result of the Irish season in second place, with Freddie Stewart just holding off Sean Leonard for third place. Richard Ford made up for his disappointment in the 250 Classic race, by taking the win in the 1000 class, and a new lap record at 87.580 mph.
The Grand Final was the final race on the card, and McGee took control of this from the very start. He didn’t manage to beat his time from the Open Superbike race, but he definitely increased his chances of retaining his Irish Superbike Championship, as the Grand Final was also a championship counting race. Like Walderstown last week, it was Davy Todd who tried his best to keep with McGee, but at the flag he was over 7 seconds adrift, with Micko Sweeney making up for his problem in the Open race, finishing in third ahead of Thomas Maxwell.
Everything was finished at 3.30, with the prize giving over at 5.00. A great meeting well run and thankfully no red flags.