No love lost as Dunlop brothers aim to battle for glory
This Saturday's KDM Hire Cookstown 100 will open the national road racing season here in Ireland on two-wheels, and it's shaping up to be a real cracker with the Dunlop brothers, William and Michael, guaranteed to be in the mix for honours in all the main classes.
With the absence of maverick racer and network TV personality Guy Martin – who will take in the Bol d'Or 24-hour race this coming weekend at Magny Cours in France – Moneymore-based Tyco Suzuki will be looking to William Dunlop to challenge at the front in the four-stroke classes on their home track.
Dunlop has nine wins around the Orritor circuit, but the aforementioned victories have all come on two-stroke machinery.
"I've had a number of good tests under my belt and although things didn't quite go to plan last weekend at Bishopscourt with a crash on the 600, I'm really looking forward to Cookstown," said the elder of the Dunlop siblings.
"I've had nine wins there on the smaller bikes, but the plan is to leave the two-strokes behind now and concentrate on the bigger bikes with Tyco Suzuki. I'm coming better prepared than ever, so hopefully I can give Michael a run for his money."
As you would expect, Michael Dunlop will start as firm favourite for honours in the Supersport, Open and Cookstown 100 races, and having gained valuable miles during his British Superbike debut on Easter Monday with Buildbase Kawasaki, he will be hard to stop.
Having crashed during qualifying at Brands Hatch, there were strong rumours that Michael had possibly fractured an arm in the incident. But having raced on Monday – then boarded a flight from Gatwick airport with no signs of major damage [no sling or plaster] –those claims see somewhat unsubstantiated.
Dunlop (pictured) will ride an MD Racing S1000R HP4 BMW in the Open and Cookstown 100 races on Saturday and as well as the Supersport class – where we fully expect to see an MD Racing Honda on the grid – the Isle of Man TT star is also expecting to debut a Supertwin for McAdoo Racing, as he explained recently.
One local man who is always worthy of a mention is out-and-out privateer Shaun Anderson.
The 29-year-old engineering graduate from Banbridge will ride Suzuki machinery in the Superbike and Supersport classes, but could possibly roll out an Aprilia in the Supertwin class at the event as he explained.
"The aim at Cookstown for me is to be running as close to the front as possible, but like everyone else, all the questions will be answered on race day," he said.
"I have a Lightweight ER6 Kawasaki but if we have the Aprilia ready in time we might give it a run."
Practice for the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 takes place tomorrow with roads closing at 12 noon.
Roads will then close on Race Day Saturday at 10am with 19 races planed over the two days. Official car parks are priced at £5 with the Official programme just £10.