Mike Browne edged home Michael Dunlop by a third of a second to claim his first Southern 100 win in Thursday morning’s H&H Motorcycles 600cc race. 

Browne led for the first four laps, with Dunlop constantly harassing him. The Killeagh farmer got the better start and was 1.7 seconds ahead of the 23-time S100 winner at the end of the first lap. 

Dunlop reduced the gap by half a second on lap two and the pair were never more than a few yards apart thereafter. Both on Yamaha R6’s, they appeared to be equally matched all the way round the course, but Dunlop later admitted that Browne’s Russell Racing machine was quicker on acceleration out of the tight corners. 

The gap was 0.229 of a second with two laps remaining and that barely altered, with Browne managing to keep his bike in front all the way to the flag where the official margin was 0.37s. 

‘That’s my first win in my first official Southern 100 meeting,’ said Browne, who has previously won in the Pre-TT Classic over the same course. ‘There were a few damp patches in places, so I couldn’t use all of the road, but I had the best bike on the grid.’ 

There was an intense battle for third throughout, with Dom Herbertson initially next behind the leading pair with local man Joe Yeardsley fourth. Paul Jordan and Rob Hodson were right behind and as the race progressed the four of them compressed closer together.

Jordan, despite later saying that his intermediate front tyre had been the wrong choice, leap-frogged his way past Yeardsley and Herbertson to grab third place on lap four. 

Manxman Yeardsley ended up sixth. Local joiner Grant Thomson won his first ever race on the Billown Course in Thursday morning’s JCK Supersport B race. On pole from Tuesday’s lone qualifying session, he led the six-lap race from start to finish. 

With damp patches in some areas, he stuck with his first choice of dry tyres and it proved correct. He led by two seconds from Adrian Harrison of Bradford at half-distance, but then upped his pace on the final two laps after seeing his lead halved.

Averaging 100mph on the final two circuits, the Gansey man won by 6.4 seconds.