The weather gods once again played havoc with Irish Road Racing. Today`s Dundrod 150 races were abandoned by Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston after prolonged periods of heavy rain. Less than 3 months after the NW 200 was abandoned due to heavy rain, this comes as a bitter blow to all concerned. Riders, teams, paying spectators, organisers and sponsors will all be mightily upset and fearful of what is to come for the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday. Currently the forecast for Saturday is showing light rain showers between 0900 and 1800.
Noel made the tough decision after several inspections of the Dundrod circuit during which the rain hardly abated. He had safety concerns with running water across the road in the braking zone at Cochranestown as well as other areas. I understand the forecast for the rest of the day showed little or no improvement. These are tough decisions to make but definitely the correct one. Some riders are keen to ride in the wet and of course most will have wet tyres, but overall safety must come first. Aquaplaning in running water approaching a tight corner doesn’t bear thinking about. The poor visibility caused by massed starts in wet conditions may also have been a factor in Noel`s decision.
Anyhow before the rain arrived we had some great high speed action in the final practice sessions. Superbikes and 600s were the first 2 sessions, ran in dry conditions. The action was fast and furious and all riders giving it their best. The Ultra Lightweight/ Lightweight class was up next. I am not sure how many bikes left the paddock but at times there were 10 machines bombing down to the Hairpin together. Great entertainment certainly but no room for error. The only incident of the day that I am aware of happened immediately in front of me unfortunately. I was marshalling on the final approach to the Hairpin just beyond Tournagrough. The rider took a wide line out of the final Tournagrough curve as he attempted a pass. I feel he was going too quickly for the line and ran out of room. He ran onto the verge and catapulted over the bank. The bike tumbled ahead of the rider thankfully. The session was red flagged immediately and doctors and medics on the scene very swiftly. I am pleased to say that his injuries are not life threatening. The above shot shows the corner where the incident occurred, taken shortly before roads opened. The curve is a left hander and we are looking back towards the corner. The rider and machine came to rest to the left of this shot. My position today at the start of the braking zone, looking towards the Lindsay Hairpin.
Waiting patiently for action to restart.
Rider of the day goes to Dean Harrison for nailing it in the wet and then getting a telling off for passing under a red flag 🙂 Keep er lit and here`s hoping for better on Saturday. Cross them fingers.