Dubbed the ‘friendly races’ by competitors and fans alike, the Southern 100 in the Isle of Man gets under way today.
The event, which runs on the Billown Circuit until Thursday, begins with the Corlett’s 600/1100cc race over eight laps and the opening six lap sidecar event.
KMR Kawasaki’s Ryan Farquhar is back on the island to try and defend his Solo Championship title from 12 months ago, but the level of competition this year could not be stiffer. In-form brothers William and Michael Dunlop arrived on the island just last night.
Michael is fresh from a hat-trick on Sunday at Walderstown Road Races and elder brother William is also in the form of his life, taking four wins at Skerries just over a week ago.
Former Southern 100 champions Cameron Donald (Wilson Craig Racing) and Relentless by TAS Suzuki’s Guy Martin will also make a return to action, with McAdoo Racing’s Conor Cummins continuing his return to form after injury — and the Manxman is a tip for top honours.
Black Horse Kawasaki team boss Ian Lougher has taken five Solo Championships from his career total of 34 wins at the event and, though the Dromore based Welshman is now a journeyman racer and not necessarily expected to feature at the business end of proceedings, he can’t be written off.
Other locals on the trip are Dungannon’s John Burrows and Paul Cranston, Ballymena’s Dennis Booth, Brian Patterson from Newtownabbey and Saintfield’s Davy Morgan. Tomorrow’s Irish Superbike round at Kirkistown gets under way at 12pm with former GP ace Jeremy McWilliams making a guest appearance in the Supersport class for Mar-Train Racing.
All the Irish Superbike regulars will be in action from championship leader Kirk Jamison to Matthew Percy, David Haire, Mark Johnston and Crumlin’s Stephen Thompson.