Derek McGee takes 2018 Duke Road Race Rankings
Wednesday 19 December 2018
County Westmeath, Ireland, rider Derek McGee has lifted the Geoff Duke Duke Trophy having deposed 2017 winner Dean Harrison.
Just 17 points separated McGee from TT Supersport winner Harrison, who had also taken the Duke title in 2016.
The story of the season was an up-and-down one for Chawke as he battled international stars of the calibre of Harrison and 'Maverick' Michael Dunlop.
After the opening round, the Cookstown 100, Derek was in third place in the initial rankings, at that stage headed by eventual third place finisher Adam McLean.
Just a week later the Tandragee 100 saw the Mullingar man on top of the pile, a position he retained after an impressive showing at the first of the season's International races, the North West 200.
A single result, second in the Isle of Man Lightweight TT saw him slip to fourth as Michael Dunlop took over the helm.
Five race wins and four lap records at the Enniskillen Road Races, round nine of the championship saw Derek back on top of the table.
Back in the Isle of Man in July and reigning champion Dean Harrison claimed the number one spot at the Southern 100 Road Races, as Derek was pushed down to fourth.
Four wins at Walderstown followed up with a sensational five race victories at Faugheen put a smile back on Derek's face, and relegated Dean to second.
A rain affected Ulster Grand Prix saw Derek retain his place at the top of the ‘leader-board’ despite being a non-starter due to a practice spill, as Adam McLean moved up to second with Dean third.
The Classic TT saw Dean back in first position, as he and Derek swapped positions in the rankings table.
Derek was passed fit to race for the penultimate ‘European’ round, the East Coast Road Races at Killalane, County Dublin, where a victory in the Darran Lindsay 600cc Supersport Race and fourth in the 125cc Championship race were enough to put him on top of the Duke Road Race Rankings 2018.
With the unfortunate loss of four races at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, the Duke Road Race Rankings Championship consisted of 21 race meetings in 2018, commencing with the Cookstown 100 in April.
As has become traditional, the Macau Grand Prix provided the exotic end to the season. TT winner Peter Hickman was, once more, the winner of what must count as one of the most dramatic races on the calendar. However, despite a great deal of success in the international races, Peter's BSB commitments kept him from the popular national events missing the chance to build points towards the championship. His overall result of sixth still saw him climb one position on his 2017 standing.
Adam McLean, who was the 2015 Duke Newcomers Award winner Adam McLean ended another positive season with a strong third - a climb of seven places over the 2017 season.
2018's Best Newcomer went to Rathkeale, County Limerick, Ireland rider Liam Chawke who finished 17th overall in the rankings table.
Best Classic Only competitor is Ballymena's Barry Davidson also repeating his achievement of 2017 & 2016 after being runner-up in 2015.
The top female rider, also from Northern Ireland is Melissa Kennedy who slotted into 58th place, repeating her achievement of last year.
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