Refreshed Rea ready to make it happen in Monterey
Jonathan Rea heads into the eighth round of the World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca, near Monterey in California this weekend with a 50 point advantage over Kawasaki Racing team-mate Tom Sykes.
Rea has won eight individual races this season to Sykes' two and both are looking forward to the undulating course that includes the infamous 'Corkscrew' section having shared a victory apiece a year ago.
With a five-week break following this round it is important to both riders, Rea chasing his third successive crown and Sykes looking to close the points gap, as he chases his second world title.
Ballyclare rider Rea said: "After the last round at Misano, in Italy, I enjoyed some camping with my family and also enjoyed a break with the whole team in Ibiza. I'm really looking forward to Laguna Seca, as it is one of the most iconic circuits in the world and one which I enjoy.
"Last year I won the first race and this time the target is to repeat that and win the second race as well, to go into the summer break satisfied with our work so far."
Eugene Laverty has had a tough season with the Milwaukee Aprilia so far, but after his best result of the season at Misano last time out the Co Antrim rider is looking forward to more progress at Laguna.
Closer to home, Bishopscourt hosts the MJF Building Services two day Neil Robinson and Donny Robinson Memorial races today and Sunday with a full Irish and Ulster Championship day of racing today and the feature races taking place on Sunday alongside the Ulster championship race programme.
Neil lost his life in an accident at Scarborough in 1986, a month after winning the F1 race at the Ulster Grand Prix while Donny, an ex-Grand Prix rider, was sadly killed at the North West 200 in 1999.
Unfortunately Danny Buchan has had to withdraw from the meeting due to family commitments and has apologised in writing to the organising Mid Antrim 150 Club.
With a prize fund of £3,500 on offer, £1,500 of which goes to the Neil Robinson Trophy race winner, the action should be fast and furious with Carl Phillips, Niki Coates, Ali Kirk, Gerard Kinghan, Luke Johnston, Jason Lynn and Ross Patterson all chasing a share of the money.
The Neil Robinson race is open to Supersport and Superbike machines while the Donny Robinson race, sponsored by Slemish Water, will be for the fastest qualifiers from the Supertwins, Pre Injection and Lightweight Supersport races.
Following hat tricks for Derek Sheils and Derek McGee last weekend, their attention switches to the Race of the South at Walderstown, near Athlone today and Sunday where William Dunlop will provide the major opposition, while Adam McLean debuts in the Superbike class on a Kawasaki prepared by MSS alongside his Supersport and Supertwin rides and road race newcomer Davy Todd is well worth keeping an eye on.
Following Walderstown, road race attention switches to the Isle of Man and the 62nd Southern 100 meeting where practice begins on Monday from 6.15pm.
With Guy Martin withdrawing from the meeting, Michael Dunlop will be favourite to land his fourth Solo Championship title come Thursday afternoon.
- Channel Four has once again agreed to air Armoy Road Races.
There will be a half hour documentary followed by a one hour programme which will be aired, seven days after the race on Sunday, August 6 at 7am and 7.30am.
The first of the two programmes, a preview, will document how a sleepy North Antrim village is turned into one of the best national road races in Ireland and the second programme will highlight the race action over the Friday and the Saturday.