Top-class line-up ready to rock at the Tandragee 100
The 58th Around A Pound Tandragee 100 on May 4-5 has attracted a bumper entry of 360 riders, including 36 circuit newcomers and nine overseas competitors.
A few of the star names that will be lining up include Guy Martin in the Classic race, Derek Sheils and Derek McGee - Irish road race champions in 2016 and 2017 respectively - Michael Sweeney, Davy Morgan and Barry Davidson.
Rising stars Joseph Loughlin, Paul Jordan and Adam McLean will look to upset the favourites, as will newcomer Davey Todd riding Cookstown BE machinery.
The 5.343-mile circuit is regarded by many as the best national venue on the island with its fast-flowing bends, tight corners and fast straights undulating through Orchard County countryside, once described by John McGuinness as a "mini TT".
The eight-race programme will have an overall prize fund of £11,000 and counts towards the Irish and Ulster Championships.
Voted the fourth best road race circuit in the world, the Tandragee 100 will have an international flavour.
Those from foreign shores who will be mounting a challenge include Czech Republic duo Michal Dokoupil and Veronika Hankocyova, Daniel Mettham - who is riding Billy McKinstry machines - from New Zealand, Germans Kenny Hinck, Chris Meyer, Mathias Winkenjohann and Vassilios Takos, Italian Enrico Rocchi and Canadian Mel Gantly.
The amount of time, effort and money put in to prepare the circuit and running of the races is all down to enthusiastic club volunteers who are ever grateful to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Mahon Garden Centre, Around A Pound, the multi-sponsors of all the races, first aid, marshals and flag marshals.
Indeed, the working volunteers of the North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club were honoured in 2016 with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and the first time a motorsport group had received this high honour.
The lap record for the circuit belongs to Michael Dunlop at 109.297mph - set back in 2011 when he was Kawasaki mounted - but with neither of the Dunlops currently on the entry list, that record could be in jeopardy given good weather conditions.
Dan Kneen is the second fastest competitor around Tandragee with a lap of 108.899mph and, like the Dunlops, could be a late entry - and potential race winner on the Tyco BMW.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the opening meeting of the season, the Spring Cup at Olivers Mount, Scarborough scheduled for April 20-21, has been cancelled after the Auto Cycle Union were unable to grant a course licence for the event.
This comes after a number of incidents involving spectators during the Gold Cup meeting last September and after a comprehensive risk assessment of the circuit was carried out by the ACU.
A number of additional safety improvements requested by the ACU had not been achieved by the organising Auto 66 Club/PMH Promotions, therefore the ACU were unable to provide the necessary licence for the event.