Belfast Telegraph

Baby girl clips the wings of boss Bird in Sunflower Trophy

By Jimmy Walker

Millionaire businessman Paul Bird, who is running a two man team in the Sunflower Trophy at Bishopscourt at the weekend, may not be here to see the action.

Bird who will be backing John McGuinness says: “My partner has had a baby girl and I may be at home to play Daddy."

However his two riders McGuinness, a replacement for Spanish star Gregorio Lavilla who has a tooth infection, and Chris Walker will be here from today.

Bird rarely misses a Sunflower meeting and it is possible that he will fly over for race day which takes place on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the TAS Team will also be in action and Michael Laverty who is seeking his sixth win in the Sunflower will be one of the favourites on a course he knows so well.

Ian Lowry is also in action as part of the Tas Suzuki Team and will be looking for a big result.

Apart from Laverty the big danger to the Bird Team is Michael Rutter who will head the NW 200 Ducati outfit. Rutter has a tremendous record in the NW 200 itself and it would be appropriate if he were to win and boost the image of the race.

John Laverty joins Rutter in this team and should go well.

Then we have Alastair Seeley who is the newly crowned Master of Mondelo.

Seeley was second to Michael Laverty in last years Sunflower and the “Cheeky Chappie" is sure to go close over a circuit were he is better than most.

Marshall Neill was front runner in last year’s race and should add to the occasion as is the case with Michael Pearson who won one of the Superbike races last year.

It looks as though Laverty , if he produces his best form, will be hard to beat .

Rutter has the obvious experience to defeat him and you can't take Seeley out of the equation for he has a hunger for success.

On race day all races will be over nine laps except for the Sunflower which is over 12.

The sidecar classes are dominated by Tim Reeves who has been three times World Champion and was third in this years TT.

Practice on Saturday is at 9am and racing on Sunday starts at 10.30 am.

Belfast Telegraph

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