William Dunlop back in the saddle for Kells outing
William Dunlop will make a return to racing at the Carole Nash Kells Road Races, in association with Road Racing Ireland magazine, in Co Meath.
Dunlop suffered heavy bruising and a broken rib in a 100mph practice crash on the Glen Helen section of the TT circuit just over a fortnight ago, but having received extensive treatment from Osteopath Michael Kerr he's ready to race this weekend.
"Considering the nature of my crash at the TT, I'm not in too bad condition," said the Ballymoney man, who will race his CD/IC Racing R6 Yamaha at Kells, in both the tough Supersport and Open races.
There will be no Tyco BMW machinery at the popular Co Meath event for Dunlop to ride, but he's confident he can accumulate some decent points on the little Yamaha, which is built and tuned to World Supersport specification.
"I'm not going to Kells to just ride around," said Dunlop.
"I feel quite good today [Thursday] and by the weekend I'll hopefully feel that little bit better, thanks to the efforts of Micky Kerr. I want to win the Irish Superbike and Supersport titles this year, so I'm going to Kells to score some decent points."
The Co Meath event kicks off tonight with a classic run.
All proceeds will go to Down's Syndrome Ireland, in recognition of Irish motorcycle journalist Aidan Lynam - co-founder of the organisation - who sadly lost his life in a road traffic incident just last month.
Dunlop will head up an impressive 120 strong entry that includes Mullingar's Derek McGee, who made an auspicious start to his TT career earlier this month.
The Wilson Craig Racing pilot will start the meeting as favourite in a number of classes, after the TT claimed the fitness of a number of notable absentees.
These include Jamie Hamilton, Keith Amor and Michael Sweeney with Michael Dunlop also a certain non-starter.
On a positive note, the event has attracted some up-and-coming young stars, and the fairer sex will be represented by Melissa Kennedy from Enniskillen and Veronika Hankocyova from the Czech Republic.
Round eight of the World Superbike Championship also takes place this Sunday, with Manx-based Ulsterman Jonathan Rea, looking to increase his already ridiculously large series lead.
The factory Kawasaki rider has won 10 of the opening 14 races this season, and having finished second in the remaining four, his advantage currently stands at 124 points over KRT team-mate Tom Sykes.
With a phenomenal tally of 330 points beside his name at the top of the current standings, Rea said: "I've fond memories of my first ever World Superbike race win at Misano and I always enjoy going to Italy."
Praising his Japanese machinery he added: "The Ninja ZX-10R has been really competitive at Misano in the past so I am looking forward to it."
Rea has scored four double victories so far this year, and with Sykes having taken both wins last year, it's already looking like a Kawasaki master class is on the cards again this Sunday.
"The Italian crowds always have a warm place in my heart," said Rea.
"Temperatures should be hot again, like in Portimao, so I expect to be strong.
"It is the last European race for a while, before we go on two fly away, so it would be good to make it count."