Ride on night at the Ramada
Tuxedos take over from leathers as bikers put on their best bib and tuckers for the sport’s awards night of the year at the Shaw’s Bridge Ramada Hotel in Belfast tonight.
MotoGP legend Loris Caparossi heads a star-studded guest list, followed by 2009 World Supersport champion Cal Crutchlow and a host of the biggest names in bike racing, local and nationally.
The occasion is the seventh annual Irish Racer Magazine Awards, sponsored by Adelaide Insurance Services in association with Greenlight Television.
Irish motorcycle racing enjoyed a fantastic 2009 at home and abroad on the short circuits as well as the roads and who will be crowned Adelaide Racer rider of the year is too close to call.
Up to half a dozen riders are in contention for the award, which in the past has been won by Ryan Farquhar, Jonathan Rea and Michael Laverty, all three winning the award twice.
Farquhar and Rea will again be amongst the contenders tonight joining Alastair Seeley, Eugene Laverty, Ian Lowry and Michael Dunlop on the short list for the top accolade.
Farquhar took road racing to new levels in 2009, winning an unprecedented 61 races as well as surpassing the all-time Irish national road race winning record of Joey Dunlop.
He also won the Duke Road Race Rankings title for the fourth time and clinched six Ulster and Irish road race titles as well as winning an International Supersport race at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Further afield, Rea and Laverty made their mark on the world scene with Rea, winner of the main award last year, taking his first ever World Superbike victories on his way to fifth position in the championship in his full debut season in arguably the leading championship in world racing.
Laverty came within seven points of lifting the World Supersport championship, also in his full debut season, after a ding-dong battle with one of tonight’s special guests Cal Crutchlow.
The 23-year old Toomebridge rider won four races and finished second four times, losing out narrowly in the championship chase to his rival after blistering performances from the Parkalgar Honda rider.
Seeley had a season he will long remember, winning the British Superstock Championship and , Irish Superbike Championship, the first rider to lift a British and Irish title in the same season.
The Carrickfergus rider won an amazing nine races from nine starts in claiming the British series, before switching to the Superbike championship, where he will ride in 2010, towards the end of the season.
Lowry had a brilliant debut season in the British Superbike Championship, finishing fourth in that particular series while Michael Dunlop became the latest member of the family to clinch a TT victory by winning a sensational second Supersport race back in June.
Michael follows in the tracks of his father Robert and uncle Joey in becoming a TT winner, while the young Ballymoney rider also won two Irish road race championships in the 125 and 250cc classes.
Overall there are 12 categories providing awards tonight with all eyes on the main award to see who will be crowned Adelaide Racer Irish Motorcyclist of the Year.