Super for Dunlop and Seeley
Local riders William Dunlop and Alastair Seeley have both secured lucrative Superbike deals prior to this weekend's racing action at Oulton Park's BSB round and, closer to home, the KDM Cookstown 100 Road Races.
Seeley had already put pen to paper with local team Tyco BMW to ride their 1000cc BMW hardware at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in a fortnight's time.
But with Philip and Hector Neill's Italian British Superbike star Davide Giugliano having been ruled out of Oulton Park's Bank Holiday Monday meeting through injury, NW200 record holder Seeley is set to step in for a one-off ride with the Moneymore based team in the British series, alongside team regular Christian Iddon.
Dunlop, who was furnished with a late opportunity on a Mar-Train Racing Yamaha R1M Superstock machine at last weekend's ill-fated Tandragee 100 Road Races, which claimed the life of Italian star Dario Cecconi, has now secured a deal with bike owner Tim Martin for the rest of the season.
Martin and his wife Sonya, who recently purchased Temple Golf Club, close to his family home and Mar-Train Haulage business, will again supply Dunlop with his Superstock Yamaha for the remainder of the season, but has added a Superbike in the deal, which will see the bikes run in the all-new Temple Golf Club livery.
Speaking of his one-off BSB appearance with Tyco BMW, which will see him reacquainted with the world's leading domestic Superbike series, Carrick's Seeley explained: "It always feels like coming home when I'm back in the TAS Racing camp, but to be given an opportunity to jump back on a factory Superbike, especially as it's valuable track time prior to the North West 200, couldn't have come at a better time."
The 37-year-old rode the development project Spirit Moto2 machine in the opening two rounds of the British Supersport class at Donington Park and Brands Hatch Indy.
In the road racing arena, William Dunlop is obviously delighted to have secured quality machinery for the upcoming 1000cc classes at the North West 200, thanks to Tim Martin and Temple Golf Club, which he can now add to his IC/Caffrey Yamaha R6, making it a full stable of privately run Yamaha machinery.
Speaking of the deal, Temple based businessman Martin, somewhat tongue in cheek, said: "It's Sod's law: when I tried to sign William and pay him money to ride for me we couldn't do it, and now here he is riding two of our bikes for the rest of the season, up to and including the Ulster Grand Prix."
Having opted out of running his own team, the former British Supersport Championship winning team owner said: "Apart from supplying the bikes and some spares and maybe some technical advice, that's the only involvement we will be having.
"Mar-Train Racing is dead and buried, but it's a good opportunity to promote Temple Golf Club," he added.
Dunlop will debut the all-new Temple Golf Club Yamaha livery at this weekend's KDM Cookstown 100, where celebrity Guy Martin is also set to make an appearance after crashing out of last week's Tandragee 100.
Probably the biggest name set to grace the Orritor circuit, but on the spectator side of the fence, will be BT Sport MotoGP presenter Suzi Perry, who will be guest of honour at the County Tyrone event.
Perry is a well respected and knowledgeable figure in both the MotoGP and F1 paddocks and her good looks and infectious personality are sure to set the temperatures soaring at Orritor.
Roads close at Cookstown from 12pm tomorrow for practice and qualifying and on race day Saturday from 10am.
Large crowds are expected, particularly given Lincolnshire ace Martin's presence on the grid.