Manxman Conor Cummins will be adding a touch of fluorescent livery to his Tyco Suzuki leathers during tomorrow’s opening practice sessions at Armoy Road Races, as he tops a comprehensive list of newcomers at the north coast Race of Legends.
Cummins has been a notable absentee from the national road racing scene over the past three seasons, opting to take in the British Superstock Championship in between international commitments — but the 26-year-old from Ramsey in the Isle of Man is looking forward to making a ‘between the hedges’ return.
“Yeah I think Cookstown in 2009 was my last Irish national road race appearance,” said Cummins, a double Irish champion on the roads back in 2007.
“I was adamant I wouldn’t be doing any more national roads back then, but my opinion has changed and it’ll be nice to come back to Northern Ireland, where I always get a great reception.”
Just like 2007, when he took to almost every circuit, Cummins will treat Armoy with the same respect, but he is making no predictions despite an impressive return to action earlier this month at the Southern 100 with five podiums.
“Back in 2007 I’d rock up to places I’d never seen before and be on the pace, so hopefully this weekend will be no different. I’ve a fair idea where the course goes at Armoy as I’ve been watching DVDs and the like, and I’ll be doing a few laps up there on Thursday [today],” said Cummins.
“The last two races before the Ulster Grand Prix [Southern 100 and Armoy] are purely preparation for Dundrod where I’ll be looking to get the finger out and post some wins. In saying that, I’ll not be hanging around at Armoy and I’d like to give the Tyco Suzuki guys some decent results.
“We’ll suck it and see, but one thing I’m not looking forward to is looking like a ‘Rodney’ in that orange newcomers’ vest,” he joked.
Cummins was the fastest ever man around Dundrod in 2009, setting a lap time also acclaimed as a world track lap record at a staggering 133.284mph.
And despite the ‘bar-room’ hype surrounding Armoy and Dundrod involving Wilson Craig Racing, Tyco Suzuki, KMR Kawasaki and Michael Dunlop’s team, the battle for tyre supremacy is equally as important with Dunlop currently the dominant force.
Cummins, who has long been an advocate of the Pirelli brand, has his own take on the situation.
“Products don’t lose quality overnight; that’s the way I look at it. We are the only top team on Pirelli currently, but I still hold the fastest standing start,” he said.