Anstey can hit the golden trail in Dunlop's absence
Ballymoney's Michael Dunlop is an almost certain non-starter at this weekend's Scarborough Gold Cup meeting, which gets under way this morning at the Oliver's Mount parkland circuit in North Yorkshire.
Also absent from the Gold Cup event is multiple winner Guy Martin. The Tyco Suzuki rider has a filming commitment in Germany this weekend before heading to France to prepare for the Le Mans 24-Hour race next weekend.
Away from racing, Martin features in a new series of seven-minute short films on Channel 4, detailing his passions. 'Guy Martin's Passion For Life' reveals his candid thoughts on the dangers of the Isle of Man TT, and features exclusive access to his normally off-limits private life. See more at: www.channel4.com/programmes/guy-martins-passion-for-life
Mar-Train Racing's Dean Harrison will also be missing from the Gold Cup, as he continues to convalesce following his crash during the opening Supersport race at the Ulster Grand Prix.
This paves the way for a trio of Honda mounted stars to add their name to the famous Senior Gold Cup Trophy: Valvoline by Padgetts' Honda duo John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey will be high on many people's list as favourites to win the feature race tomorrow.
Anstey has never won the prestigious Gold Cup but his team-mate McGuinness – who has been hampered for the best part of 2014 with a wrist injury – would love to add to his solitary Gold Cup victory back in 1999.
Local man Lee Johnston is the pick of the rest despite only making his third appearance at Scarborough. The Pirtek Honda rider will campaign Supersport and Superstock machinery at Oliver's Mount.
Veteran racer Michael Rutter has signed for Milwaukee Yamaha to ride in this year's Macau Grand Prix, replacing recently departed Ian Hutchinson who will now ride a Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki alongside Stuart Easton at the November event.
If rumours are correct, it may well be Milwaukee Yamaha's last outing on the international road racing scene, with the Guisborough based team set to announce a 'BSB only' deal with Yamaha for 2015.
This would leave Aussie Josh Brookes to consider his future, if he's keen to continue with his Isle of Man TT career. It's well known that Brookes is currently sitting by the phone waiting on an answer from an all-new BMW team in World Superbike, and if that doesn't happen, then a return to Tyco Suzuki could well be on the cards for the 32-year-old.
Michael Laverty is in MotoGP action this weekend at Misano with the PBM Motorsport team. The Toomebridge man has also been linked with a return to British Superbikes in 2015 and will no doubt not be short on offers of employment.