Belfast Telegraph

Star Martin just can't wait to entertain at Cookstown

By Paul Lindsay

Global television celebrity and talented road racer Guy Martin has confirmed that he will be on the grid at next month's KDM Hire Cookstown 100, where he will make his pure road racing debut for Honda Racing prior to this year's Vauxhall International North West 200 in May and the Isle of Man TT Races in June.

Martin had strongly intimated that he would take in the Cookstown 100 event when he was interviewed last month after his shock move from local team TAS Racing to the might of Honda, where he will ride alongside his hero, 23-time TT winner John McGuinness.

But that aside, this latest development is a major shot in the arm for the promoting Cookstown and District Motor Cycle Club, who will now be guaranteed a massive trackside audience at the Orritor Circuit on the weekend of April 28 and 29.

Martin, who has not raced competitively since his crash at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix - the same year he took the feature race victory at the KDM Cookstown 100 - explained: "I've always enjoyed racing at Cookstown over the years and it's been good to me.

"I'm not sure what my programme for the year will be, but Neil (Tuxworth - Honda UK) has told me I can pretty much do what I like, so I might just put a couple of bikes in the van and come and race Cookstown with a couple of mates to help me out.

"That's the sort of racing I enjoy."

It is not yet known if Martin will use the opportunity to bring a Superbike to Cookstown in preparation for the North West 200, and more importantly for the Englishman, the Isle of Man TT in June.

But with main race day at Cookstown overlapping with round three of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park, it may well be that a Superbike effort with Honda Racing at Orritor may take some doing, but it's not out of the question.

However, Martin racing even a classic bike would draw a huge crowd at Cookstown, so to have him on any form of modern machinery is a huge boost for national road racing in general, especially as his main adversary, Michael Dunlop, may well opt to race across the pond at Oulton Park's Bank Holiday BSB meeting, getting much needed miles on his Hawk Racing-prepared factory Suzuki before the upcoming Vauxhall International North West 200.

Entries for the KDM Cookstown 100, which will be the second round of the 2017 Ulster and Irish Road Race Championships, close this weekend, with the Club already boasting packed grids.

The County Tyrone event is a well run meeting and often referred to as a mini-international event, manifest by the strength of their entry over the years, with many top teams and riders using the weekend as a pre-season shakedown.

The action at Orritor gets under way on Friday, April 28 with roads closing at 12 noon for the opening practice sessions and evening races.

Race Day Saturday, meanwhile, takes place on April 29 with roads closing at 10am.

Considering there will be a certain Guy Martin on the grid, the Club is urging fans who are attending to get there early and pick an appropriate vantage point.

Belfast Telegraph

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