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Kells back on the road with seal of approval

The iconic Kells road races in County Meath will go ahead again this year on July 16 and 17.

The future of the event was plunged into doubt when last year’s event had to be cancelled on race day after only three races due to torrential rain, and the untimely death of 27-year-old Armagh man Stephen Larkin during practice on the Saturday.

But the organising Kells club last night confrimed that the Adelaide Insurance backed international will go ahead.

Race secretary Aileen Ferguson said: “We're delighted that, given our recent difficulties, we're up and running for 2011 and as ever the Kells Motor Cycle Racing Club have worked extremely hard to bring a top class event yet again to Co Meath for the Adelaide International Kells Road Races.”

The Kells event is regarded as the top ‘national’ road race in Ireland, both north and south of the border, by riders and fans alike, attracting such names as Guy Martin, Cameron Donald, Keith Amor and the Dunlop brothers William and Michael — not to mention a 30,000 strong band of spectators over two days.

New Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing signing Guy Martin is a former winner at the County Meath venue, and although the Lincolnshireman is not a regular on the national scene these days, he had kind words for the Kells event.

“I always said the Kells event was a well run show,” Martin insisted.

“And just like the Southern 100 in the Isle of Man I've always en

joyed competing there. I'm glad to hear it's back on the calendar and although it clashes with the Oulton Park British Superbike round I'll be speaking to team boss Philip Neill to see if we can maybe get a run out there — that would be just mint.”

Run as a Festival of Racing, the event again includes the Kells Bike Fest in County Meath on Saturday, July 16 — a major attraction for the whole family.

The fourth annual Adelaide Kells to Kells ride-out, organised by the Quay Vipers Motorcycle Club, will run the same day from Kells in County Antrim to Kells in County Meath. For more information go to the Club’s website — www.kellsroadraces.com

lDani Pedrosa says Valentino Rossi can never be discounted as a title contender, despite the somewhat inauspicious start to the seven-time MotoGP world champion’s career as a Ducati rider.

Rossi finished the first pre-season test of 2011 in a modest 11th position overall, while Pedrosa — together with Honda stablmates Casey Stoner and Marco Simoncelli — have been amongst the main pacesetters.

Despite this, Pedrosa is refusing to eliminate Rossi from the equation of title challenger.

“The great unknown quantity will perhaps be Rossi,” he said.

“It’s his first year with Ducati and in Malaysia he wasn’t amongst the fastest riders. But Rossi is Rossi, and you can never rely on anything. Even when he’s in last place on the Saturday, he still has the capacity to surprise.”

Additionally, Pedrosa is wary of reigning champions Yamaha, pointing out that Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies continue to display the most convincing race pace.

Belfast Telegraph