Belfast Telegraph

Martin and Jordan aim to cook up success in front of star Suzi

 

By Paul Lindsay

Top MotoGP presenter and former model Suzi Perry will be the guest of honour at this weekend's KDM Hire Cookstown 100 Road Races, which get under way today with the opening practice sessions.

It's a far cry from the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, where Perry was plying her trade last week alongside fellow BT Sport presenters and former World Superbike champions Colin Edwards and Neil Hodgson.

Cookstown's Orritor circuit is certainly miles away from the glitz and glamour of the MotoGP paddock. But the Midlander, who is a self-confessed Wolverhampton Wanderers fanatic, is a time-served motorcycling aficionado and broadcasting professional, and will no doubt feed on the local support set to give the popular presenter a very warm welcome.

Perry's presence will possibly be a comfortable distraction for road racing's broadcasting truck mechanic, Guy Martin.

The Lincolnshire man - who made a shock return to action with Honda Racing for 2017 after a lengthy tenure with Hector Neill's TAS Racing squad - will be looking to make amends after an underwhelming return to action at last Saturday's Tandragee 100, where he crashed out, taking Paul Jordan with him in the process.

The duo escaped unhurt, but unfortunately Italian ace Daro Cecconi sadly lost his life after a crash at the Orchard County venue.

Magherafelt's Jordan was man of the meeting last year at Cookstown, and having added the 2016 British Supersport-winning Kawasaki to his B&W Site Sealants stable - as well as his latest acquisition, a brand new 200bhp BMW S1000RR, thanks to Isle of Man-based company Evolution Camping - the affable 25-year-old local butcher is well equipped to carve out some top results for himself.

That said, the quiet man of the National Road Racing scene, Derek Sheils, was in blistering form last week at the season opener at Tandragee and grabbed the racing headlines.

A convincing Open class winner with Cookstown BE Racing aboard Suzuki machinery, he could taste more success at Orritor, despite the tight, twisty and sinuous circuit possibly giving hope to his main rivals, which excluding Martin includes fellow Irishman Derek McGee, a 600 winner last week, and Ballymoney's William Dunlop, who has been furnished with 1000cc Yamaha machinery for the season thanks to Temple businessman Tim Martin - formerly of Mar-Train Racing fame.

Following his Tandragee 100 Open class victory, Sheils commented: "I always wanted to win a Superbike race at Tandragee so I'm delighted to have ticked that box. I got clear of my rivals early on in the Open race and just kept an eye on the pit board and controlled the race with not too much bother. Now I'm ready for Cookstown action."

Roads close today in Cookstown from 12pm for the opening practice sessions and tomorrow at 10am for a full race programme in all classes.

Another local man who has been in action lately is Maguiresbridge joker Lee Johnston. Now with Jackson Racing on Honda machinery for the 2017 season, Johnston is preparing to get back to winning ways at this year's NW200 and has been sharpening up his skill-set during a recent test at Castle Combe.

Belfast Telegraph

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