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Rain puts a stop to Sunflower Trophy

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Author Topic: Rain puts a stop to Sunflower Trophy  (Read 331 times)
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« on: October 28, 2013, 01:26:03 pm »


The Sunflower Trophy meeting at Bishopscourt suffered a heavy setback on Saturday after the event was called off due to heavy rain and an oil spill.

The disappointing outcome was a huge blow to the organising Hillsborough Club after the event – regarded as the premier short circuit meeting in Northern Ireland and the Republic – was cancelled last year, when a decision to move the race to a new summer date proved disastrous.

Renowned for attracting some of the leading riders and teams from the British championship scene, the organisers were left with no option but to scrap the meeting last season due to a lack of quality entries.

Teams competing in the British championship were simply unwilling risk their riders in the middle of the season, with titles still up for grabs and championships yet to be decided.

It was an embarrassing scenario for the Hillsborough Club as the decision to implement a new date backfired spectacularly.

This year, the short circuit showpiece was allocated its traditional October slot to coincide with the conclusion of the British Superbike Championship and the club was determined to make amends following last year’s debacle.

Headline acts Alastair Seeley on the Gearlink Kawasaki and newly crowned British Supersport champion Stuart Easton topped the entry.

Sadly, an oil spill at the end of the first Supersport race was exacerbated by torrential rain and after a frustrating delay of more than three hours, the decision was taken to abandon racing in the interests of safety.

Roy Biggerstaff, course manager at Bishopscourt, said marshals tried in vain to remove the oil from the circuit but ultimately the riders felt it was too dangerous to continue racing.

“The marshals did all they could but the rain spread the oil all over the circuit,” he said.

“It was similar to the situation at the North West 200 a few years ago. I asked a number of riders of all grades – including the Sidecar men – what their thoughts were and they all felt that it would be just too risky to keep racing.

“I took a report to the stewards and they made the decision to abandon the event,” he added.

“It’s very disappointing for everyone but at the end of the day safety is the most important thing.”

Carrick man Seeley was a comfortable winner of the Supersport 600 race on his Kawasaki ZX-6R, taking the victory by over 10 seconds from English rider Luke Hedger – who was standing in for the injured Ben Wilson as Seeley’s Gearlink team-mate at the Sunflower.

Lisburn’s Tommy Elwood finished on the rostrum in third position ahead of leading American Supersport contender Dane Westby, Carl Phillips on the Sandown Yamaha R6 and Nico Mawhinney.
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