Michael Pearson planning to set the pace at Cookstown 100
Former Irish Superbike champion Michael Pearson will open his pure road racing account for 2014, at the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 Road Races on April 25-26th with new team, Northern Escalator Installations.
Pearson may be a notable absentee from the Vauxhall International North West 200 on an annual basis -- preferring to take in Horace Road Races in the Czech Republic -- but he's one worth watching this year at Cookstown, aboard an all-new ZX-10R Kawasaki Superbike.
A brace of fourth-placed finishes in the Superbike classes last year at Orritor and a fifth place on his Supersport outing, prove that the 36-year-old Ballygowan man is certainly no slouch between the hedges.
And with Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin opting out of Cookstown this time around, to take in the endurance race at Bol d'Or in France -- then Pearson could well jump onto a podium or two.
"I'd certainly like to think I'll be fighting for a podium this year," Pearson explained following a recent test at Cartagena in Spain.
"The only thing is I've no experience of the Kawasaki on the roads as yet, but if Spain is anything to go by then we shouldn't be too far away," he added, speaking confidently about the all-new MSS Kawasaki prepared Superbike, he will roll out on April 25 at Cookstown.
Pearson will take in 19 race meetings on the road in 2014; sadly the North West 200 or a long-awaited Isle of Man TT debut is not in his plans, as he candidly explained.
"I never ever said I wouldn't be back at the North West. I just said I prefer to race at Horice, as you are well looked after; it costs me less than it would to do the North West 200; you get more track time and the event has great weather."
Speaking of the Isle of Man TT, Pearson explained why it also has been embargoed for yet another 12 months.
"I missed out last year as I was injured, but the reason for not going this year is purely down to the fact we are concentrating on the Thundersport series in the UK," he said.
"Most of my sponsors are based in England and they can jump in the car and come see me race at the Thundersport events and it's all televised.
"But I also plan to do Frohburg and the Macau Grand Prix at the end of the year."
Pearson has also loosely penciled in a one--off appearance in the Irish Superbike opener on Easter Saturday at Bishopscourt alongside new team-mate and current ISB champion Nico Mawhinney.
Meanwhile, Ballygowan-based Motocross star Gary Gibson, is a big favourite to land the P&O Ferries John Donnelly Memorial Trophy for the third time, this Saturday at Downpatrick Motocross Park.
Gibson's main challenge will undoubtedly come in the form of Comber brothers Wayne and Jason Garrett.
Wayne was runner-up last year in the Donnelly Memorial with Lisburn's Richard Bird another big name who will be looking for top billing.
Joanna Walsh from sponsors P&O Ferries, said: "We at P&O Ferries are delighted to sponsor the John Donnelly Memorial Motocross once again this year.
"We have been sponsoring the Killinchy Club since 1994, and each year have seen the race becomes more and more exciting," she added.
The Killinchy Club's event will take place at the Downpatrick Motocross Park on Bonecastle Road, with racing getting underway at 11.00am.
Admission for adults is £5 with children under 15 free and OAP's £3.