Isle of Man rider Dan Kneen won the 40th Enkalon Trophy showpiece at Bishopscourt on Saturday for the first time.
Riding his BMW Superstock machine, the Manx rider added his name to the famous silverware after winning the coveted trophy overall based on his results in the two Irish Superbike races.
Pole man Kneen held the advantage in the first race on his DTR-backed S1000RR and won by 1.6 seconds from Northern Ireland’s Gerard Kinghan on his Kawasaki, while Alistair Kirk completed the rostrum on the AKR/McCurry Motorsport BMW, 3.6 seconds behind the winner.
South African Hudson Kennaugh, riding the KMR/IEG Kawasaki Superbike, finished in fourth place followed by Ross Patterson on his 600cc Kawasaki, with Mark Glasgow finalising the first six.
Race two was restarted over four laps after a red flag incident and this time it was Kennaugh who came through to take up the running on Ryan Farquhar’s ZX-10R. The experienced British championship rider was in determined mood and held firm at the front to keep Kneen at bay, crossing the line to take victory by 0.2 seconds. Kinghan was third once more, less than a second behind Kennaugh, while Glasgow, Patterson and Charles Stuart on his Yamaha were the top six.
Kneen, though, was crowned the Enkalon champion overall and received a cheque for £1,000 for his efforts. The 29-year-old will be aiming to continue his good form on Easter Monday at Kirkistown. In the Supersport class, reigning Irish champion Jason Lynn clinched the honours in the first race on the Walter Bell Suzuki by almost four seconds from Christian Elkin (Bob Wylie Kawasaki), with Korie McGreevy third.
In race two, Patterson turned the tables on the KP Kawasaki to take victory over Lynn by 0.3 seconds, while Aaron Armstrong made it onto the rostrum on his Triumph ahead of Elkin and McGreevy. Mark Hanna was a double winner in the Supertwins class on the Roy Hanna Motors Kawasaki, beating KMR Kawasaki-mounted Hudson Kennaugh in the opener and Marty Lennon in race two. Darryl Tweed also chalked up a brace in the Lightweight Supersport class on his 400cc Kawasaki, with Cahal Graham and Eunan McGlinchey winning both races in their respective 125GP and Production Twins classes.
Kamenz, Germany. The Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Racing Team has presented its outfits for the 2017 Road Racings such as the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy this last weekend. High profile new arrival to the German team is Manxman Dan Kneen. The 29-year-old from Douglas, Isle of Man, will be riding BMW S 1000 RR bikes at all the road races Team Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Racing is taking part in the 2017 season. Joined by Danny Webb and Italian Alessandro "Alex" Polita, the team will field three racers in its campaign.
The 2017 racing schedule sees team Penz13.com taking part in the "300 zatáček Gustava Havla" (20.-21. May) and the Isle of Man TT races (27. May to 09. June), with further road races at Imatra, Finnland, Frohburg, Germany, and Macau to follow.
Since his TT debut in 2009 Kneen is a regular Top-15 finisher in the Isle of Man TT races. He reached that no less than 26 times with a best finish of 5th in the 2010 Supersport TT. Kneen first tackled his home track in the 2008 Manx Grand Prix to become the first rider ever to achieve 3 race wins as a newcomer during that fortnight. Kneen also has countless wins in the Irish- and Ulster-Superbike championships and is gunning for more glory.
Webb is staying for another season with the German Penz13.com team to build on the successes he achieved during the first year with them. Webb is relatively new to the big 1000cc bikes, coming from 125cc and Moto3™ championships, with his last Grand Prix appearance so far being the 2016 Sachsenring Grand Prix for Mahindra. Webb raced Grand Prix on a permanent base from 2007 to 2012 and then began to approach the roads on the big bikes. The now 25-year-old will have his third proper go at the TT having debuted in 2014 and only entering the Lightweight class in 2015. Since 2016 on a Penz-BMW, Webb is keen to better his so far best result on the 1000's with a P26 in last year's Senior TT. In the Lightweight class e shined in 2015 with a 10th spot.
Italian Alessandro Polita will be facing his second TT after having debuted with Team Penz13.com in 2016. The 32-year-old won the 2007 FIM Superstock 1000 Championship and raced a total of 22 WorldSBK starts. In 4 years in STK1000 Polita earned a total of 16 podiums out of 38 races with 5 wins amongst them. Polita constantly bettered his Mountain Course pace during the 2016 meeting.
"I am really happy to be joining the Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Racing Team for 2017 as I know what a professional outfit they are. Meeting all the guys at the team launch only confirmed that for me. They are all up for a good time but take the racing side serious which is what it is all about for me. Penz are very experienced in road racing as well as in the FIM Endurance World Championship so they obviously know what they are doing and I am confident that the bikes I will be riding will be very competitive, so I am looking forward to getting started."
"I am very happy to continue my path with the Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Racing Team for another year. It was a steep learning curve for me in 2016 and I am looking forward to build upon that. I am also looking forward to the new adventures at Horice and Imatra, especially the Finnland race looked quite spectacular last year, so I am looking forward to that. I got more and more time on the big bikes now and I hope to improve myself further at the TT and all the other races and I thank the whole Penz-bunch for giving me a competitive ride another season."
"Last year it was my dream to accomplish a TT and I did so. It was a mega feeling to lap the Snaefell Mountain Course and I got quicker and quicker during the 2016 fortnight. I am now happy to be given the chance by Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Racing for another go at the TT as well as at other road races in 2017. I hope to better my skills on the real roads further and I know I have the best possible preconditions to do so in the team I am in."
"We have been in talks with Dan Kneen for quite a couple of years now but it never came together, so we are more than happy he is joining us for the 2017 road racings. His record of Top-15 finishes at the TT is incredible and Dan is as hungry for the next step as we are. He is a proper Manxman and will be prepared for the fortnight in a best possible way – he knows the track like no other. I am also happy to keep Danny Webb and Alessandro Polita on board. As I always said: Danny has a bright future in road racing ahead and proved that with the permanent progress he is doing, so we might have to watch out for some highlights with him this year. Alex will go into his second TT and already had a brilliant newcomer year in 2016. He is hungry to do more but in a second year at this track there is no need to having any pressure for results. He is supposed to go out there and have some safe fun."
Mar-Train Racing’s Dan Kneen produced a blistering performance to make the perfect start to his 2016 road racing schedule with a commanding victory in the feature Superbike race at the Around-a-Pound Tandragee 100.
The feature race was red-flagged and re-started over five laps after a crash on lap two, which was later reported as a ‘minor incident’ involving Joe Newbould.
Following a short delay, Kneen made up for the disappointment of being hit with a one-minute penalty for jumping the start of the earlier Open Superbike race, powering away at the front on the YZF-R1 to win comfortably in the end by more than six seconds from Dublin man Derek Sheils (Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki).
Newcomer Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, a treble winner at the Mid Antrim 150, impressed again as he rounded out the rostrum places in third, 12.8 seconds down on the flying Kneen.
William Dunlop, making his roads debut on the MSS Kawasaki Superstock machine, was next in fifth followed closely by Ryan Farquhar (IEG BMW), who appeared to have an issue with his S1000RR after setting the pace in the original race before it was halted due to the red-flag incident involving Newbould.
The Dungannon racer was declared the winner of the Open Superbike race earlier in the day when Kneen – who crossed the line first – and runner-up Sheils were penalised by 60 seconds for jumping the start, knocking them down to 10th and 11th positions respectively. A counter-appeal was launched, which was due to be held by the race stewards on Saturday evening.
William Dunlop was promoted to second place in the revised standings of the Open Superbike race behind Farquhar, with Mitchell-Thomas third from Michael Sweeney.
Ballymoney man Dunlop and the CD-IC Racing Yamaha proved an unbeatable combination in the Supersport race, hunting down early leaders Kneen and Mitchell-Thomas to hit the front with three laps remaining.
The 30-year-old put the hammer down on the sixth and final lap to shake off Kneen, winning by 1.2 seconds at the finish with 20-year-old Bolton prospect Mitchell-Thomas on the podium again in third place on the Burrows Honda, five seconds behind.
Farquhar and Mitchell-Thomas served up a repeat of their Mid Antrim tussle in a thrilling Supertwins race, which went right down to the wire.
The wily Ulster rider made his move on the final lap to take the lead, although Mitchell-Thomas launched one final attack at the last corner before running wide as Farquhar kept his cool to nip up the inside for another win on the SGS KMR Kawasaki.
Derek Sheils made it two of John Burrows’ Supertwin machines on the rostrum as he finished in third in a rare outing in the 650cc class.
James Chawke and Joe Newbould were the respective winners of the Junior and Senior Support races, while Rhys Hardisty won the 250cc event from Davy Morgan by 0.2 seconds.
In the 125cc race, Sam Wilson took the spoils from Adam McLean and Paul Robinson, while Gary Dunlop finished sixth on his Tandragee debut behind Derek McGee.
Czech rider Michael Dokoupil was a narrow winner of the 400cc race from Farquhar by only two-tenths-of-a-second, who was riding his single cylinder 450cc Kawasaki.
Dan Kneen was in scintillating form at the 56th Around a Pound Tandragee 100 as he handed Mar-Train racing the feature race victory on their debut at the event.
Starting from pole position the Manx man took the lead at the beginning of lap two and came within a fraction of a second of breaking the lap record as he pulled away from the BE Racing duo of Shiels and Mitchell-Thomas to record a six second win.
Earlier in the day Kneen picked up where he left off in 2014 by winning the opening superbike race by four seconds from Shiels and Farquhar. A subsequent protest regarding a suggested jump start by Kneen and Shiels has been appealed due to lack of any evidence and will be reviewed by the governing body in due course. There was no doubt about the winner on the day though as twenty eight year old Kneen took his first victory for Yamaha UK and Mar-Train racing.
After qualifying 3rd for the supersport 600 race Kneen was involved in a titanic battle for the victory with class specialist William Dunlop. The Douglas resident shadowed Dunlop for the majority of the race after earlier swapping the lead with Mitchell-Thomas but back markers put an end to any chance of a win in the closing stages, eventually finishing second.
Rider – Dan Kneen
“I really enjoyed the racing today and it was great to get my first wins for Mar-Train, the boys have done a great job with the bikes so it’s nice to repay them so early in the season. I followed Derek in the Open race for a while but knew I could go a bit quicker so had a go and managed to pull away. I haven’t gone well on a 600 for a few years so to run with William today was really positive, it’s the most I’ve enjoyed riding a 600 in a long time. I sat behind the guys in the first run of the grand final and the pace was steady so I knew I could get away on the restart. The main thing was just keeping my concentration after that, fantastic to make it two from two at Tandragee.”
Team Principal – Tim Martin
“If we thought Dan’s short circuit performances were impressive then today was just phenomenal. Only his second time at Tandragee so to come away with a superbike double and second in supersport is a dream start to our road racing campaign. You work hard all winter to try and hit the ground running so when it happens it is especially satisfying. All credit goes to the guys in my team and YMUK for the progress with the bikes. The controversy after the open was frustrating, I have watched the video and there is no evidence to substantiate the protest so hopefully the powers that be make the right decision in the end.”
Mar-Train now move on to the KDM Cookstown 100 in one week’s time in their final outing before the International North West 200.