Exciting trio ready to headline quality entry list at Tandragee 100
Hot on the heels of the KDM Hire Cookstown 100, road racing heads to the North Armagh Club-promoted 58th Around A Pound Tandragee 100 - once described as a "mini version of the TT" by no less a star than John McGuinness.
The 5.343mile circuit is the longest and arguably the best of the Irish national road races, a real challenge on the twisting, undulating and bumpy track with two long straights.
Following the withdrawal of Guy Martin, heading the entry are Tyco BMW's Dan Kneen and William Dunlop on his Temple Golf Club/Caffrey International Yamahas.
Manxman Kneen (31) is no stranger to the circuit having won both Superbike races in 2014 and the Tandragee 100 Open race in 2016.
Kneen, the new recruit to the Moneymore-based team, is looking forward to returning to Tandragee on his Superstock spec Tyco BMW.
"I stepped in for the injured Ian Hutchinson at the Ulster Grand Prix last year - that led to me securing the ride for 2018 with Hector and Philip Neill," he said. "It's all about working with the team in a roads environment to get the bike set up properly and Tandragee is a challenging track to do this."
Hoping to have had a series of mechanical issues from Cookstown ironed out, William Dunlop is a nine-time winner at Tandragee including three successive Supersport victories in 2014, '15 and '16 and victory in the Tandragee 100 Open race in 2015.
A number of 'new names' hit the headlines a week ago including the Gortreagh Printing duo of Adam McLean and James Cowton, New Zealand newcomer to Tandragee Daniel Mettam and Cookstown BE rider Davey Todd, another circuit newcomer who will have been well schooled by his team boss John Burrows.
In the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council supported meeting, organisers have secured a huge 360 rider entry including 36 newcomers and nine overseas competitors all vying for a share of the £11,000 prize fund in an eight-race multi-sponsored programme.
Derek Sheils was the 'big bike' winner at Cookstown on the Cookstown BE Suzuki and will be looking to keep his winning run going having won the Open race at Tandragee a year ago, but the opposition is strong including Kneen, Dunlop, Derek McGee, Michael Sweeney and Davy Morgan - recovered from his Cookstown accident - while last year's Support double winner Joseph Loughlin will be looking to mix it in the national classes.
Roads close this afternoon at 3pm for practice and qualifying while on Race Day tomorrow roads close at 10am.
The Ulster Quadcross and Sidecarcross championships reach the halfway mark at Tinker Hill, near Newry tomorrow where reigning Quadcross champion Michael McAneney from Limavady will be looking to consolidate his lead in the series while Neil Campbell and passenger Craig Parmenter seek to maintain their unbeaten run in the defence of their title.