Thursday’s official launch of the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 has raised the sense of anticipation with the new Irish road racing season now only weeks away.
The Cookstown Club has secured a strong entry as usual for the curtain raiser in Co Tyrone, which takes place from April 27-28.
Derek Sheils has dominated on John Burrows’ Suzuki around the 2.1-mile Orritor course over the past two seasons, but the Dublin rider could be set for a much bigger test this year.
New Tyco BMW signing Michael Dunlop needs some mileage on the S1000RR after striking a late deal with Moneymore’s TAS Racing outfit and it seems the Ballymoney man will seize the chance to compete at the team’s home race later this month.
Dunlop’s most recent appearance at the Cookstown 100 was in 2015, when he made his roads debut on the Milwaukee Yamaha.
On that occasion, Guy Martin – riding in the Tyco BMW colours – notched a double as Dunlop slid off unhurt in the feature race.
TAS Racing has historically supported its local race meeting and Dunlop is poised to make his bow on the Tyco BMW after missing out on pre-season track time.
His older brother, William, is already confirmed on the Temple Golf Club Yamaha, while exciting newcomer Davey Todd joins Sheils on the Cookstown B.E. Racing machines.
With McAdoo Racing’s Adam McLean and James Cowton, Derek McGee, Michael Sweeney and former man of the meeting Paul Jordan also entered, there is plenty to whet the appetite.