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Dunlop is setting his sights on Kirkistown joy

Motorcycle racing

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Main man: Michael Dunlop, pictured on his MD Racing Suzuki Superbike, is main Kirkistown attraction. Credit: Rod Neill

Main man: Michael Dunlop, pictured on his MD Racing Suzuki Superbike, is main Kirkistown attraction. Credit: Rod Neill

Main man: Michael Dunlop, pictured on his MD Racing Suzuki Superbike, is main Kirkistown attraction. Credit: Rod Neill

Motorcycle racing blasts off in Northern Ireland today with the first meeting of the year at Kirkistown in Co Down, where a raft of top riders are entered.

Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop is the stand-out name on the entry list for the Belfast and District Club’s President’s Cup event, where the 19-time Isle of Man TT winner is set to be joined by record North West 200 winner Alastair Seeley, who is contesting a full season at home for the first time since 2009.

Carrickfergus man Seeley will ride the IFS Yamaha machines in the Superbike and Supersport classes as he keeps himself busy on the domestic scene after failing to land a suitable ride in the British Championship.

The former British Superstock and Supersport champion will go into the new campaign as the favourite, but Seeley faces some formidable opposition today on his return to Kirkistown.

Derek Sheils, who was crowned ‘King of Kirkistown’ last September at the only short circuit meeting to take place in Northern Ireland in 2020, returns on his Roadhouse Macau-backed BMW, while rising talent Jason Lynn will be aiming to ruffle the feathers of the established big guns on the J McC Racing Suzuki.

McAdoo Racing’s Adam McLean is another dark horse as he uses the event to get to grips with the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR ahead of this month’s Armoy Road Races.

McLean said: “We’re going to concentrate on the Superbike mainly this weekend and ideally we could have done with some more time on the big bike, so we’re really using this weekend for mileage.

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“We’re not going to bother with the Supersport bike at Kirkistown but we’re going in the Supertwin races.

“The Kawasaki is the new 2021 bike and I’ve only done a few laps so far on it, so we need as much time on it as possible before Armoy.”

Derek McGee from Mullingar makes his racing return after sitting out last season, while fellow southern Irish rider Michael Sweeney, Alistair Kirk, Ryan Gibson, young gun Cameron Dawson and veteran Jeremy McWilliams are also entered.

Meanwhile, Glenn Irwin is eager to make up ground at Knockhill in Scotland this weekend in the second round of the British Superbike Championship.

The Carrick man is ninth in the standings after the first round at Oulton Park.

Honda rider Irwin said: “The test at Knockhill was good and I feel we’ve furthered the bike since then and moved forward.

“I felt strong during the test, even though we’ve not raced there since 2019, and having missed a year there I think it helps as everyone is in the same boat.”

Race one today is at 4.30pm with tomorrow’s BSB races at 1.30pm and 4.30pm.


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