Cookstown 100: Martin looking like guy to beat
Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider Guy Martin is the latest in a long list of international stars to declare their intention to compete in the Cookstown 100 next Friday and Saturday, the first national road race of the season.
Fast mover: Guy Martin will compete in Cookstown 100 as part of his preparation for the North West 200
Martin, competing at Brands Hatch over Easter in the British Superbike Championship, last raced around the 2.1 mile Orritor Circuit in 2007, but you have to go back to 2003 and his debut at the Cookstown 100 to find his one and only victory at the Tyrone venue when the Lincolnshire rider won the senior support race.
The 29-year old, in his debut season for the Moneymore-based team, is taking in the Cookstown meeting as part of his preparation for next month’s Relentless North West 200, but it is not yet clear if he will take part in the Tandragee 100 which is one week after the Cookstown race.
Martin said: “This is an opportunity for me to get in some road race practice and with the TAS workshop close to the circuit it is an ideal situation.
“Relentless Suzuki by TAS are proven winners and it is now up to me to turn up and get on with it.”
Team boss Phillip Neill said: “Organisers and local fans are enthusiastic about the Cookstown 100 and as we are based just up the road it is the perfect opportunity to support a local race, something we are always keen to do where possible, plus give Guy some road race practice. I am aware that the meeting clashes with Oulton Park BSB, but we will work around that.”
The opposition for Martin at the Royal Hotel and Braeside Cookstown 100 is formidable, led by last year’s four time winner and most successful competitor in Irish national road racing history Ryan Farquhar, riding a stable of KMR Kawasakis.
The Dungannon ace has just announced that Hungarian rider Sandor Bitter will compete for the Farquhar team at both the Cookstown and Tandragee national races and the three major international road races — the North West 200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix.
Farquhar comes to Cookstown off the back of a perfect start to his season at Scarborough last Sunday where the he began the defence of his Duke Road Race Rankings title with seven wins from seven starts.
The organising Cookstown Club have secured a quality field which will see Michael Dunlop debut his new Street Sweep Kawasaki superstock machine on the roads.
The new Wilson Craig Honda Team of Cameron Donald and William Dunlop are also on the entry list ensuring a day of red hot competition, with Farquhar’s lap record of 90.811mph sure to come under threat given favourable weather conditions.
John Burrows rides the Cookstown backed BE engineering machines, with top performances also expected from Adrian Archibald (AMA Racing) — who also rides for the Farquhar KMR team in the supertwin class — Michael Pearson (D&G Wray BMW/Carryduff Forklifts Kawasaki), four times second to Farquhar at Scarborough, and veteran local rider Paul Cranston (Loughrin Honda).
Top southern competitors Derek Sheils and Michael Sweeney are also set to challenge at the front with Michal Dokoupil from the Czech Republic — now a regular on the Irish scene — riding the AIR Kawasakis.
Race day is Saturday, April 30, roads closing at 10am for an 18 race programme, with practice scheduled for Friday, April 29, roads closing at 2.30pm.