Shaun back and ready to shine at Tandragee 100
The 53rd Tandragee 100 Road Races have been blessed with a packed entry in all classes today.
And despite the names Dunlop and Martin dominating the headlines last week at Cookstown, this weekend it's well worth looking out for an up and coming name on the pure road racing scene – Shaun Anderson.
The 28-year-old mechanical engineering graduate will be treating Tandragee – sponsored by Around-A-Pound – as "my North West 200" before skipping the north coast showpiece and setting sail with father Howard – the MCUI (UC) Chief Technical Officer – for the Isle of Man TT.
Anderson won the Ulster Senior Support Road Racing title in 2010 and was also named top Irishman at the Manx GP that same year, lifting the Cromie McCandless and Martin Smith Awards for his efforts, having posted second place in the Newcomers 'A' and fifth in the Senior Manx races.
The Banbridge man is the second fastest newcomer ever to lap Tandragee, posting a lap speed of 102mph on his debut back in 2011.
The only competitor to circulate quicker on his debut was Australian Cameron Donald, whose former TAS Racing machine the Montupet employee will ride at Tandragee.
It's a much-anticipated return for Anderson whose 2012 season was cut short after a crash at Bush resulted in a broken leg and wrist.
He did return for practice at the Ulster Grand Prix but made the mature decision to sit it out at only 80 per cent fit.
With the ex-Cameron Donald 1000cc Suzuki at his disposal, a 'Howard Anderson Special' ER6 for the Supertwins class and the Doon Stores GSX-R600 Suzuki to ride in the Supersport class, Anderson is going to be kept pretty busy at Tandragee.
"Thanks to Godfrey Black I will have the use of a GSX-R600 previously ridden by Bruce Anstey and our 1000cc Suzuki was a Superstock machine but has been done up a wee bit," he laughed.
"We have also built our own ER6 Supertwin machine for under £4000 and Coran Smyth has given us a 'four-fifty' to cobble together for Tandragee, so it should be great craic this weekend."
The other main protagonists expected to challenge for honours in the Open and Superbike classes are Saintfield's Davy Morgan on the Strangford Holiday Park Suzuki, KMR Kawasaki's exciting young prospect Jamie Hamilton and Lisburn's Michael Pearson on the Hotties Racing BMW.
Morgan said: "I felt comfortable on the big Suzuki at Cookstown, so hopefully Tandragee is where I can up my level of performance and find another gear to run in the front group.
"I know what I'm capable of in the Supersport class and having been third in the 'two-fifty' class last week I'm up for the win this time around."
Practice and qualifying takes place today with roads closing at 3.30pm.
The eight race Around-A-Pound Tandragee 100 then gets under way tomorrow at 11am – roads close at 10am – with ex-Grand Prix champion Jim Redman the guest of honour leading the Classic Parade to open proceedings for what promises to be an intriguing day of action.