Paul Jordan took his maiden International road race victory on Thursday when he won a thrilling Supertwins race at the Ulster Grand Prix, giving the Dafabet Devitt Racing team yet another win in the class after previous successes on the roads with Ivan Lintin and Dean Harrison.
The Magherafelt rider had qualified the Bristol-based team’s ER6 650cc Kawasaki in pole position during Wednesday’s qualifying session around the 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit, which was held in mixed conditions, but the weather was perfect for Thursday evening’s race as he slotted into second behind Joseph Loughlin on the opening lap.
It was a five-rider battle for supremacy with positions changing hands frequently and at the end of the second of four laps, just one second covered Loughlin, Paul, Lee Johnston, Christian Elkin and Jamie Coward.
Loughlin still led at the end of the third lap but going into the final lap, his advantage was only 0.17s and Paul made his move along the Flying Kilo to take over the lead. The race was now between the 27-year old, Loughlin and Coward, who had finished second at the Isle of Man TT earlier this year, as Elkin dropped back and Johnston retired.
All three riders lapped in excess of 119mph on the final lap, Paul’s speed being 119.161mph, and although it was anyone’s race as they headed towards the line, it was Paul who came out on top to take a superb first International road race victory from Loughlin by just 0.092s! Coward took third and he was only two tenths of a second in arrears after a superb race around the high-speed course.
The victory made up for disappointment earlier in the day when Paul slid off at Leathemstown during qualifying for the Superstock race and subsequently retired early from the Superbike race.
He did, however, get his day back on track in the five-lap Supersport race which led into his Supertwin success. Riding the Yamaha YZF R6 on this occasion, Paul completed the first lap in eighth place but as the race wore on he became embroiled in a four rider battle for fourth. There was little to choose between Paul, Coward, Conor Cummins and Michael Sweeney and less than a second covered them at the chequered flag with Paul taking a strong sixth place.
Paul Jordan: “I’m literally lost for words and really don’t know what to say! It was a mad race and we were swapping places – and paint – everywhere, particularly young Joseph who was up the right of me, up the left and down the middle on occasions. I knew if I could get to the front, I had a good chance of keeping him behind me but it was obviously a lot closer than I would have liked as we headed towards the line. The bike was flying and although it’s going to take a bit of time to sink in, I’m made up to get my first International road race win.”
“It’s something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time and I can’t thank the team enough, not just for giving me a great bike today but also for putting their faith in me this season. I was feeling really down after the tip-off in qualifying when I just caught the white line at Leathemstown but the Supersport race helped my confidence no end and it got me dialled back in. I’d missed a few laps during the day compared to the rest of the riders so the sixth place got me back on track and to finish the day with the race win is just unreal.”
Ben Constable, Team Co-owner: “To take another International road race win, and our first with Paul, is simply superb and full credit to both him and Adam Nowell for putting together a race-winning bike. Everything started well in qualifying when he took pole position and we thought it would be Jamie (Coward) that would be the biggest threat. As it turned out, there were five riders in with a chance of the win and it was hectic to say the least!”
“The slip off on the big bike had knocked his confidence a bit so for him to bounce back with a stunning ride and a stunning win is fantastic and will do him the world of good not just here but in the long term too. He’s got the monkey off his back now so it will help him in the other classes too, starting on Saturday. We’ve got a busy day with five more races and we’ll be looking for five strong results.”
The racing continues on Saturday with Paul in action in the Superbike, Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin races. Roads close at 9.30am.
Pictures by Stephen Davison – Pacemaker Press International
Castle Mall Supertwin race (4 laps)
1 Paul Jordan (Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki)
2 Joseph Loughlin (Paton)
3 Jamie Coward (Kawasaki)
4 Christian Elkin (Kawasaki)
5 Ian Lougher (Paton)
6 Xavier Denis (Kawasaki)