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New rivals for Maria Costello in Ulster Grand Prix battle for girl power

By Paul Lindsay

This year’s Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix boasts six female entries, adding to the usual Girl Power at the August showpiece with Yvonne Montgomery, Marie Hodgson, Veronika Hankocyova, Sarah Boyes and Melissa Kennedy joining well know female racer Maria Costello MBE on the Dundrod grid.

Costello has regularly beaten her male counterparts on the international road racing scene throughout her career, but close friends Sarah Boyes and Melissa Kennedy are rapidly following in her footsteps.

York racer Boyes, who now resides in Ballymena, regularly competes against friend and rival Melissa Kennedy from Enniskillen, who is a self-confessed tomboy.

The 25-year-old said: “I was never really into bikes even though my brother Wayne always raced. My dad got me a bike for my 13th birthday and although it’s all a bit mad, I love it.”

The former Devenish College pupil won her first race back in 2006 at Mondello Park, making her the first ever female to win a national race.

This week at Dundrod both girls are competing in the Ultra Lightweight class on 125cc Hondas, and they couldn’t be separated in qualifying.

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