Revved-up McLean heads Ulster glory bid at Skerries after TT joy
The first of the Southern Irish road races take place today and tomorrow with record crowds expected for the AXA Bikecare Skerries 100.
Michael and William Dunlop, winners a year ago at Skerries, are absent this weekend as they will be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed where the Dunlop dynasty is being honoured.
Leading the entry at Skerries - where roads close today between 1pm and 9.30pm for practice and tomorrow from 9.30am for racing - will be John Burrows Cookstown BE rider Derek Sheils, a double winner around the 2.92 mile circuit in 2015, with Derek McGee and Michael Sweeney most likely to give the Dublin man a run for his money.
The northern challenge is headed by fastest TT newcomer and multi podium finisher at Scarborough last weekend Adam McLean (MSS Kawasaki), Paul Jordan, Davy Morgan and Darryl Tweed.
James Cowton (McAdoo Kawasaki) cannot be discounted in the Supersport and Supertwin races in which McLean, Sheils, McGee, Jordan and Andy Farrell will all be in with a shout.
The promoting Loughshinny Club are asking spectators to get to their vantage points early and to use car parks on the main R127 Lusk-Skerries road to ease congestion in and around the paddock area.
The British Superbike Championship heads to Snetterton, near Norwich, for round five and yet again it should be an enthralling battle between the series front-runners Leon Haslam, Shayne Byrne, Luke Mossey, Jake Dixon, Jason O'Halloran, Peter Hickman and James Ellison while Michael Laverty will be aiming, remarkably, for his first podium on the McAms Yamaha.
Unfortunately Glenn Irwin is a non-starter this weekend for the PBM Be Wiser Ducati Team with injuries from his Knockhill practice crash not healed sufficiently to race.
Irwin said: "I met with my shoulder and elbow specialist to see if we could reduce the normal recovery period of 12 weeks to what I wanted - two weeks. I want to be fully fit for Brands Hatch in three weeks' time, so in conjunction with my team we have made the very difficult decision not to race at Snetterton."
Tyco BMW will have Christian Iddon joined for the first time by Newtownabbey rider Andy Reid for his first outing of the season, while Josh Elliott also returns to the Moneymore-based team in Superstock 1000cc for his second appearance of the season after impressing Team Manager Philip Neill at Knockhill.
Keith Farmer led home two Irish Supersport podiums at Knockhill last time out with Andrew Irwin, David Allingham and Jack Kennedy behind the Clogher rider.
Richard Kerr and Eugene McManus chase Motostar podiums as do Carl Phillips and Robert Kennedy in the Superstock 1000cc and 600cc classes.
Finally best wishes to Nico Mawhinney from Castledawson following his huge accident at Mallory Park during Thundersport GP testing last week.
Riding the Scott Racing Motorcycles Aprilia, Nico, flat out, clipped the back of another machine approaching the chicane.