Competing last weekend on her ESM/Hol-Taj backed Kawasaki ER6, Maria put in a new personal best lap time and matched her best finish of 9th place at the Skerries 100, and followed that with an best Supertwin finish of 8th place at the Race Of The South at Walderstown this weekend.
In glorious summer weather Maria lined up in 12th place on the grid, on the front row of the second wave of riders, for the Skerries 100 Supertwins race. Maria found herself held up on the first two laps but eventually found a way past Mark Shiels and was lying in 11th place when the race was red flagged due to a couple of incidents. The race was re-run over a distance of 5 laps at the end of the day and despite the long wait, Maria was keen to improve on her previous start, this time getting away from the line well, chasing down David Coughlan to put in a new personal best lap time on her way to finishing in 9th place, with Jamie Hamilton taking the win followed by Michael Sweeney and Andy Farrell.
“The Supertwin is working really well. The Bob Jackson tuned engine is a strong motor and although it may not have the horses of the front runners bikes the light Dymag wheels are proving to be a huge benefit, both to the handling and the lap times I’m able to put in. Thankfully no riders were hurt during the red flag incident, including Derek Costello whose crash was a pretty spectacular one. I love Skerries as much for the people as the racing. It’s a physical little place with a huge atmosphere and it was great to see the bumper crowds there this year. Congratulations to the Loughshinny club for putting on a good meeting.” commented Maria.
In the continuing heat wave the Irish Road Racing Championship moved further inland to the Fore Motorcycle Club’s Race Of the South at Walderstown, another of Maria’s favourite road races, where she would be looking to improve on last years debut 10th place finish.
The club gave every rider five escorted laps prior to their qualifying session, the addition of which to the schedule was welcomed by all competitiors, especially Maria who, with only one machine, would usually only have one session on track before the race.
Five laps of qualifying were over in a flash. Maria’s lap times had come down with each lap and she claimed 8th spot on the grid for the following day’s race.
Lining up on the front row of the second wave next to Derek Costello, Maria knew she needed to get to the front if she was to have any chance of chasing down the first wave of riders. Her great start was matched by Derek who squeezed through ahead of Maria at turn one. The battle of the Costellos ensued and a blanket could have covered them both from flag to flag. Maria’s attempts to pass failed and with such equally matched bikes, passing on the long straight wasn’t possible and Maria had to settle for 8th place behind Derek Costello. With Jamie Hamilton claiming another win, he would remain unbeaten in the Supertwin Championship so far this year.
“That was some race. So close but I just couldn’t get past. Again my pizza race bike was faultless. The Wilbers suspension and Dymag wheels worked perfectly and I really enjoyed that battle with Derek around the Westmeath circuit.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated as at times as I was being held up in places and knew that the riders behind would be catching us, but for all my trying I could not get past Derek. I’m sure it made for some good watching and for all of those asking – no we’re not related, we’re just part of the same racing family.
The Fore Motorcycle Club deserve a huge pat on the back for such a well organised and run meeting. They got through the race schedule so well and with the hot weather that was a huge help. My most sincere condolences go to the family and friends of Bruce Moulds who tragically lost his life.” added Costello.
“I need to give special thanks to the Murphy family, Corbally family and Ann & Michael at St Marks Lakeshore B&B in Glasson for the accommodation over the past week. The hospitality in Ireland is second to none and I can’t recommend the St Marks B&B enough. It was set right on the shore of Lough Ree; a beautiful setting and Ann does a great fry! I’ll be back there for sure.”
Maria is hoping to be back out in action at the ‘Race Of Legends’ Armoy Road Races on the 26th and 27th July.