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KDM Cookstown 100 shaping up to be a classic - take a look at the runners and riders

Published 23/04/2015

Big name: Michael Dunlop will head one of three factory supported teams at this weekend’s Cookstown 100
Big name: Michael Dunlop will head one of three factory supported teams at this weekend’s Cookstown 100

The 2015 National Road Racing season will fire into life on Friday when the opening practice sessions get underway for the KDM Cookstown 100, which is shaping up to be an absolute classic on the Orritor circuit with a top flight entry.

Most of the leading contenders now have testing and race action under their belts, and with all grids well and truly filled – we are virtually guaranteed top class action in all classes for competitors and fans alike.

There can only be one winner in each race and that’s the big question everyone is currently asking, so let’s have a look at the runners and riders:

Can Michael Dunlop give Milwaukee Yamaha a road race win at Orritor, following his short circuit success on the all-new R1 Yamaha at Donington Park, or will the Tyco BMWs of Guy Martin and William Dunlop conquer the Orritor circuit?

Guy Martin is already a winner this season at Oliver’s Mount, just as Dean Harrison was a few weeks ago at the same venue. The Bradford lad is equally as confident of success on the Mar-Train Racing R1 Yamaha.

Crumlin’s Stephen Thompson is BMW mounted at Cookstown, riding for the German squad. Thompson has put in some spirited rides at the recent short circuit meetings and is one to watch.

Mullingar’s Derek McGee makes his road-racing debut for the Wilson Craig Honda team, and this will also be Derek’s first competitive outings on the roads aboard Honda machinery.

With all the hype surrounding new race machinery, maybe it will be the tried and tested bikes of Jamie Hamilton and Derek Sheils who could spoil the party for the larger teams. Hamilton will be onboard the B.E. Racing Suzuki in the Superbike class and is hungry for success, with Sheils racing BikeBitsNI Kawasakis for his new team.

Both Hamilton and Sheils were successful over the Easter weekend, with Sheils continuing his purple patch at the recent Adelaide Masters meeting, scoring a treble.

James Cowton, on Honda machinery is also a dark horse: his performances last year as a newcomer, were somewhat overshadowed by Dan Kneen’s success, but having recently scored a seven timer at Darley Moor, Cowton cannot be dismissed.

Others to watch out for include: Alan Bonner, who is back to full fitness following a back injury, on the MSS Kawasaki; Brian McCormack (TAG Racing) who also hopes to have a 600 added to his stable at Cookstown; Evergreen Saintfield man Davy Morgan will campaign the Magic Bullet machines and Connor Behan will be on KMR Kawasakis.

International riders, in the form of Hungary’s Sandor Bitter (T&A Racing BMW), crowd favourite Michael Dukopil; Dutch rider Michael Hoffman (Team Aermac/EICLYamaha); Dubai's Eric Goedhart and Italian regulars David Ansaldi and Dario Cecconi.

Among the female brigade are Melissa Kennedy, Yvonne Montgomery, Veronika Hanckovy and Sarah Boyes, who will also compete alongside her father Stephen in the 125cc race.

Roads Close Friday at 12 noon, and on Saturday at 10.00am.

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