Early Ulster GP exit for Amor
Keith Amor's hopes of grabbing his first International race win came to an early end on Saturday when he crashed out of the final lap of the first Supersport 600cc race at the Ulster Grand Prix. The crash occurred at Tournagrough as Keith tried to seize the lead in what had been a frantic race with up to 9 riders fighting it out for the lead and although he escaped relatively unscathed, a few dizzy spells upon his return to the paddock saw him decide it was better to sit the rest of the day out.
The incident marred what had looked like would have been one of the Wilson Craig Honda rider's best ever days having earlier claimed a podium in the Superstock race, his first outing of the day. However, earlier in the week, on Thursday, the 6-lap Dundrod 150 Superbike race got the Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week underway but having qualified in seventh place, Keith's race was over before it begun after the team noticed a misfire before he left the paddock. Deciding to take the 'safety first' option, Keith sat the race out, which made him even more determined come Saturday and Ulster GP race day.
The day got off to a great start when Keith took third in the 6-lap Superstock race, also lapping comfortably inside the old lap record. Held in two parts, the Falkirk ace came through from fifth on the first lap to take over 3rd place on the fourth lap and although the leading two riders, Ian Hutchinson and Ryan Farquhar, had made a break at the head of the field, he successfully saw off the close attentions of Guy Martin and Conor Cummins.
The second race of the day was the first Supersport 600cc event and it turned out to be one of the best ever witnessed around the high-speed 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit. With less than three seconds covering the top nine riders, Keith was never outside of the top three and looked like he'd take his second podium of the day, at least, but it all went wrong on the final lap when he went down at Tournagrough and with the aforementioned mild concussion, he had little option other than to sit out the remaining three races.
Speaking afterwards, a clearly disappointed Keith said, "I'm gutted, it's as simple as that. After the disappointment of Thursday's race, I was really determined to do well on Saturday and everything was going well after third place on the Stocker. There were plenty of damp patches out there still after all the rain on Friday but the tyres were excellent and it was a slight lack of top speed that held me back. I hung in there as best I could and although I lost the tow to the front two, I was making a lot of time up through the corners and that allowed me to hold off the rest of the boys."
"Hectic is the best word used to describe the 600cc race and there were a lot of hard moves being pulled out there with a bit of paint being exchanged too. I tried my hardest to get to the front and stay there and I felt a win was on the cards but it all went wrong on the last lap and down I went. I didn't feel too bad all things considered but I started to see a few stars and there was no way it would have been safe to have carried on so I had to pull out. It's such a shame as the bikes were flying and I felt in really good form. I really feel for the team too as they've put so much work and effort to put us in great shape and I really wanted to repay them with some good results. It wasn't meant to be though I guess so we'll get our heads down and regroup ready for the next race."
Pictures by Alan Armstrong Photography