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2011 Cookstown 100 - Preview

A few weeks ago, rumours were rife about poor entries for the opening road race of the 2011 season, the Royal Hotel Cookstown 100, with the economic climate affecting everyone, it could be expected that entries would be down, but Thankfully, we can look forward to this years Cookstown 100, with a Top Class entry list, with riders from Australia, Amercia , Austria and Czechslovakia, not forgetting our own home grown talent!, pus some very exoctic machinery, more of this later!

Having made their debut for WCR at the Easter meetings, Cameron Donald and William Dunlop will make their road race debut for the Wilson Craig team, KMRs Ryan Farquhar the local hot shot, looks like the man they have to beat, whilst Michael Dunlop might have other ideas!, however It will be interesting to see how the performance of the new ZX10 Kawasakis will be on the roads.

We can also report that some classes are actually oversubscribed!!

And it could well be that Ryan Farquhar will be bringing the 500 Paton that he won the MGP on, to the Orittor circuit, and add to this, a 500 MV Agusta!!, which has been entered by Les Cross!!this will certainly add spice and pure music to the event.

However the big talking point is without question, the late entry of Guy Martin on the TAS Suzukis!, No doubt, looking for as much mileage as possible before the International races Guy and TAS are a great addition to the already Fantastic Entry for Cookstown.

Joining Ryan Farquhar for the TT, and Cookstown, ( and probably Tandragee and North west 200) is Austrian rider, Sandor Bittor

Lets have a we run down on each individual class and see what we have in store for us this weekend.

First race of the day will be the 125 race sponsored by COOKSTOWN CENTRE FORUM

Last years race bought with it, a lot of controversy, with the inclusion of the 450s, however let the past be in the past, and for 2011, we can look forward to a full grid of 125s, with the moto 450s being given their own race alongside the 400 class ( preview later in article).

A healthy full grid of 22 competitors will line up together, but who will win?, it looks odds on favourite to be William Dunlop, but his cousin, Paul Robinson has gained enough experience to give him a run for his money, and Thanks to D&G Wray, Robinson has the use of an ex GP 125 Aprillia, these wee bikes have been known to be tempermental in setting up, but lets hope that the guys have the know how, and we can have a good race on our hands!

Up and coming rider in this class over the last few races is Wayne Kennedy, and I am sure he can be worthy of a podium finish on the Harp farm Honda.

Last year Seamus Elliot showed flashes of brilliance, and as a former 125 rider, he is back on board the Logan Waste Honda, he could well be the dark horse of the race.

An interesting entry in this race is the son of a former Cookstown 100 winner, albeit on much bigger capacity machinery!, and away back in the heyday of the Sherrygrim circuit!, his name is David Craig, son of former Irish Road race Champion Adrian Craig.

David, a former clubmans champion has raced at the North West 200, but this will be his first national road race, last year he raced in the 250 championships on the mainland. He is entered on a Cleaver Browne 125 honda. another rider who showed great promise in the latter half of last season is Daley Mathesion, so don’t rule him out of a top 6 placing, and the ever present Adrian Coleman, never gives up, should also be in the thick of things.

Riders such as Jeff Shaw, Sam Dunlop, Joe Philips, William Cowden along with the evergreen newcomer Chris McGahan and Mick Chatterton always provide good close racing.

And what about the locals?, heading the bunch is Nigel Moore, himself a rider worthy of winning, Craig Gibson on the Pete Simpson Honda, Ronnie Scott, Jack Sands and Gary Jordan are the ones to keep an eye on.

Next up will be the 400 support Race, sponsored by Greenvale Hotel and KDM PLANT HIRE.

With no less than 45 entries for this class, qualifying will be important for the front runners, as in the past, it is very hard to judge a winner in the support class, with some riders of unknown quanity, as it is their road race debut!.

My tip for the spoils here is Cirian O Callaghan, from Cork, Cirian made his Manx GP debut last year, and I reckon he has now the experience to be at the front of this class, however watch out for Billy McKinstrys new signing, Tom Llewelyn, who made his road race debut with a 4th place at Skerries last year, like O Callaghan, Llewelyn also made his Manx GP Debut last year, this year armed with an ER6 for the support, and the expertise of well known sponsor and guidance, Billy McKinstry, who has backed a lot of winners over the years, such as, Trevor Steele, Courtney Junk, Phil Mellor, Adrian Coates, Mark Harrisson but to name a few , Tom could be the one to watch.

An unknown quanity here is the present 250 short circuit champion, Mark Hanna, who will be making his road race debut on the Hanna 250 honda.

A dark horse here is Ronan Pentony, and Cirian Donnelly is another one to watch along with Scot visitor, Vic Allan, Ruben McPhee has the experience and speed to be up front as have Aaron Hatch, Mark Sheilds and Pete O Flaherty.

An interesting entry for this race is that f Billy Cummins, a former Manx GP winner, Billy Cummins may just not be as famous as his son, none other than Conor Cummins who is making a fantastic recovery from injuries sustained at the IOM TT last year, and rides for the local based McAdoo race team!.

Nigel Rea on his 650 Gladius is back for another season of Irish road racing, Nigel, who had the fastest lap in the B race last yr on this machine on his way to third spot, which had just been built, and hadn’t been raced, has gained a lot of road race experience since, having competed at Scarborough, and the manx GP, Nigel will obviously be hoping for a good run this year.

Emmet McKnight will be hoping for better fortunes than he had last year, when he crashed out of 10th sot in his first road race.

Heading the local entries is Hot Stuffs Colin McWhirter on his SV Suzuki, Julian Kirk on his er6 kawasaki, Roy Scott on the Hysoung and Alex Black on his 400 Kawasaki, whilst Yvonne Montgomery is the lone female competitor on her Suzuki.

250 Sponsored by the ROYAL HOTEL and BRAESIDE BAR

Thanks to the stirling efforts of the two stroke road racing supporters club, this years championship is one worthy of winning, and with a healthy prize fund to be collected at the end of the season, and with an entry of no less than 16 strokers, the racing will be close.

William Dunlop starts as odds on favourite, but as I have said earlier, his cousin Paul Robinson could well be the thorn on his side, Davy Morgan is the elder of the strokers competitors and can never be ruled out of contention, Daley Mathiesons best chance of success should come here in the 250 class, whilst I expect young Wayne Hamilton to spring a surprize. Last year rookie Hamilton gave Davy Morgan a great race, providing the race fans with some exciting racing.

On the local front, Phil Archer is the only local based competitor in action, Phil will be back out again on his 250 Honda.

Wayne Kennedy is back on board the Cleaver Browne 250 honda, last year was his first season on board this machine, and like many, he had teething problems with the bike, now with a years experience, We can expect Wayne to be closer to the top runners in this class.

Open Race (A) Sponsored by BA Components, and Race (B) Sponsored by DREW STEWART AUTO REPAIRS.

Honda have been the main machine across the board in superbikes, but here in Ireland, Thanks to the performances of Ryan Farquhar, Kawasaki seems to be the favoured machine at the moment!

Suzuki have also been a proven machine, but had a rather lean year on the roads last year, but with Guy Martin at the helm for TAS this year, that could all change for them.

Looking down the list, and we have three of our top riders on the new zx10 Kawasaki, Farquhar, Michael Dunlop and Adrian Archibald, BMW have made inroads on the road scene ever since Keith Amor won at last years North west 200 , This has been enough to convince Michael Pearson to move to the German powered machine for 2011, sponsored by D&GWray Racing.

Johnny Burrows retains his Cookstown /BE Racing Suzuki, as does Davy Morgan with his Strangford Holiday Suzuki.

On the Honda front, we have Cameron Donald, having raced Suzukis for the past few seasons, the likeable Aussie is back on Honda machinery, Thanks to an offer from Wilson Craig racing, joining Cameron on the grid should be William Dunlop, William has stated that he may give this meeting a miss, but lets hope he has a change of heart, and if he does go, this will be his first ride on a Honda superbike on the roads! Another Honda rider to keep an eye for is, Michael “Micko” Sweeney, winner of last years MGP 600 race.

Newcomer Sandor Bittor is rather unknown quanity in this race.

One rider, maybe not with the backing of many other teams, but certainly has the talent to succeed and that is Derek Sheilds, on a Fireblade, Derek was third in the recent Mondello Masters races and repeated the form on his superbike at Scarborough.

Czech rider, Michal Dukoupil will remain with his trusty Kawasaki from last season, whilst there is an interesting entry from Alan Jackson, who will ride a 600 Moriwaki MD!.

Runner up in last years MGP Newcomers race, Shaun Anderson will make his superbike debut, when he lines up on an ex TAS Suzuki.

William Cowden has taken over the vacant berth at PRF Racing, and will be on the 750 suzuki, on which he hopes to make his MGP debut later on in the year.

Brian McCormack made his Cookstown debut last year, and has since steadily gained experience on the road race scene, with his short circuit experience, Brian will be well suited to the Cookstown circuit. Whether he opts for the ex James Elisson superbike, or retains (which I think he will) his trusty Superbike from last year for the races.

Andy Brady is making a return to Cookstown after a few years absence, and will ride the Brady Racing Suzuki.

An interesting entry here comes from Dylan Scott who will ride a 600 suzuki, and he is all the way from the USA.

Watch out also for James Redpath on the D&GW Racing Suzuki, Trevor Ferguson on the Fergusons Hot Food Bar Suzuki.

Local talent to the fore include, Paul Cranston, Gary Millar, the evergreen Phil Archer AND Wayne Kennedy on the GB Racing Suzuki.

Supersport 400 and Moto 450 races-Sponsored by HAYES FUELS

This year the Moto 450 class will have its own race, and will run behind the 400 class.

Last year Ryan Farquhar gave the Moto 450 Kawsaki a winning debut, when he won the combined 125/450 race, however, the result was then in jeopardy thanks to protests that followed, since then it has been a long running saga over the ruling of this class, maybe for 2011, it has been sorted.

Heading the list is of course, Ryan Farquhar, Seamus Elliot was the rider who came closest to ryan last year, at the Mid Antrim, so I reckon he will be Ryans challenger ( if he has any!), Craig Shirlaw, Anthony McColgan, Trevor Ferguson both campaigned in this class last yr, and continue to do so for 2011, and add in newcomers to the class, Darren Gilpin, and Dave Walsh, lets hope that this class grows in popularity, as it could be the class for the future!, remember, how the critics talked about the Supertwins a few years ago!!.

A few years ago, the 400 class was almost doomed , however at the first s/c at Mondello, there was a full grid of the mid field supersports machines, and here at Cookstown, we have no less than 13 runners.

Andy Farrell would appear to be the odds on favourite for this class, however James McCann might have other ideas, on the PK Racing Yamaha, James would really love to give the local sponsors a win on their home track, Derek Costello should be a podium finisher, whilst former 200cc rider, Trevor Dunlop makes a return to the roads, Maria Costello could well spring a surprise result on her Honda, whilst Mick Jordan is worthy of a top six result.

Classic Races, the 250 AND 350 classic races are both sponsored by The BELFAST HOUSE & CONWAY SNOOKER.

Lets have a look at the 250 class first.

Conspicously missing from the grid here are the Jackson Bros!, Tom and Bud ! Its not too often we have watched the Cookstown 100 races without these two faithful supporters, however, the class is still full of potential winners.

Kevin Strowger is my bet, but with Richard Ford, Jeff ward and Pete Wakefield all on the lovely sounding T20 Suzukis,

Certainly wont have it all his own way, Bryan Allan has taken over the Dempster Honda a s ridden by Barry Davison in the past, and along with Alex McVicker, Gary Hutton and Robert Wright, there will still be a few Hondas to annoy the strokers!.

Dave Brough, another regular, will ride the 250 Stewart Honda, Whilst Newmills rider, Trevor Stewart will again be on board the TJR Honda.

Moving on to the 350 classic race, which will be run concurrently, and there is an interesting entry from former MGP winner, and now based in the IOM, a former sidecar ballast to Pete Kurowski, and that is the ever young Chris McGahan, he seems to get faster as he gets older, McGahan intends doing a full season of irish road racing this year , and will be hoping to open his account here at Cookstown.

Fellow Manx rider, Allan Brew who achieved his ambition last year to be the first Manx rider since the late Danny Shimmin to win an Irish Road race title, is back again with his faithful Aermacchi.

However there are quite a few other riders who would love to spoil the party, and they include, local hero, Johnny Burrows on the Steve Caffyn Honda, Mark McGaw , Davy Morgan and the old faithful himself, the current Irish 350 Classic road race Champion, Glaswegian Denis Gallagher, back again for another season of road racing.

Billy lyle on the Stewart Racing Honda will be in action, along with Freddie Stewart, Riding the machine, formely ridden by Johnny Burrows, is Keith Costello, Barry Davison has swopped the 250 class, and will now concentrate on the 350 class whilst Tim Stephenson on John Bells Honda can never be ruled out.

600 Supersport races, Race (A) Sponsored by COOKSTOWN DISTRICT COUNCIL, (in conjunction with Daniegan MSC/Loughshinny MSC and Motor Cycling Ireland, and Race (B) Sponsored by CLINTON ENTERPRISES,

Last year Ryan Farquhar won by a whisker from Michael Dunlop, both these riders will be aiming for the win, Dunlop may have moved to Kawasaki for the big bike class, but he is staying with his trusty Yamaha for the 600 class, as Ryan is staying with his Kawasaki machinery, as is Michael Pearson, who finished second to Ryan at Scarborough recently. William Dunlop however has moved to Honda, and it will be interesting to see how quickly William adapts to his new mount.

With Suzuki having brought out a new 600 machine for this year, this will no doubt make the race more interesting with the addition of Guy Martin to the race entry.

Adrian Archibald is Yamaha mounted as are Johnny Burrows (Cookstown/BE Racing), Davy Morgan (CSC Branson),shock of last years practice, Stephen McIlvenna, Craig Shirlaw, James McCann,, Sweeney, Stephen McKnight, Seamus Elliot, McCormack, Wayne Hamilton and a rider, if he can get a good practice time, could well shake up the national road racers, Gary Robinson!

Other Honda challengers include Derek Sheilds, Daley Mathieson, James Redpath, and William Davison.

Wilst the class is oversubscribed, Suzukis are rather light on the ground here, but Wayne Kennedy on the ex TAS Suzuki will be looking to give his local sponsor (GB Racing) a good result, the beautiful sounding Triumphs will be in action, thanks to Local lads, Trevor Ferguson and Phil Archer and English visitor, Andy Brown.

401-750 Support race sponsored by DISCOUNT STORES and CLINTON ENTERPRISES, this race will be known as the Daingean MSC/Loughshinny MSC & Motor Cycling Ireland Irish Support Championship.

As with the small support class, it is difficult to predict a winner here!

An interesting entry in this class is that of Garth Keys, he is riding a 748 Ducati, and this will be the former Irish Clubmans 1000 champions road race debut, the name Keys has been synomous in Irish road racing, with his uncle Trevor having campaigned on the roads for over 25 years!.

His uncle Harry was also a competitor in his early days, and his dad Rodney also sampled the road race scene.

Tom Llewelyn and Ciaran O Callaghan could well be the ones to watch here, along with Drogheda motor cycle dealer Ronan Pentony, Neil Vicars wont be far away nor should Aaron Hatch and Nigel rea. Neil Lyons will make his debut for the Dunshaughlin race team, whilst Reuben McPhee on the R6 Yamaha is worthy of upsetting the form. Scotlands Callum Laidlaw is unknown quanity, but as we have seen in the past, Scotland has produced some very good road racers, could Callum be the next one to watch? Nigel Rea has forsaken his 750 suzuki in favour of a 600 machine, and is hoping to concentrate on the whole season of Support class racing here, Rea is worthy of a good result. On the local front we have evergreen George Scott, Julian Kirk, Gary Millar and Roy Scott. As in the 400 class, Billy Cummins will again be on the grid as will be Yvonne Montgomery.

Cookstown 100 Open Race, sponsored by ROYAL HOTEL & BRAESIDE, in conjunction with Dainegan MSC/Loughshinny MSC and Motor Cycling Ireland.

Race B sponsored by DISCOUNT STORES,

What a line up! This race is more or less made up with the same candidates as running in the non championship Open race!

In the past, the Cookstown 100 Race, the Feature race of the day, has always produced some very close and exciting racing, and this year should be no different!, Farquhar will be out to claim home glory, whilst Cameron Donald will be out to prove he still has what it takes to win, Michael Dunlop will be looking to put on a good show on his new mount, as he certainly doesn’t believe in finishing second! Can Guy Martin become the new hero of Cookstown?, the ma who became a TV star a few weeks ago with his own show “ The Boat that Guy Built” is obviously a popular person with the local race fans. There are certainly quite a few riders capable of winning here, so lets hope, the weather is good, and the Feature race will again be close and exciting to watch.

The 351/1000 classic race sponsored by TYRE SAFETY CENTRE, Cookstown, boasts probably the best ever entry as regards exotic Classic machinery!, On the Paton, we have Ryan Farquhar, and on a 500 MV Agusta, we have Les Cross, the MV Agusta, made famous by the legendary Giacomo Agostini, its not too often that a national road race can boast a classic race entry with two such exotic machines!

If, and I certainly hope he does, Ryan does bring the Paton to the line, I cant really see anyone coming close to him on this machine, so realistically it should be a race for second place! however, this race consists of two classes, the 500s and 1000cc machines,

In the 1000 class, we have Mark Megaw and Robert McCrum , both of whom have had some great races to gether, and I reckon this trend will continue at Cookstown whilst Mark Morgan cannot be ruled out for a podium spot.

In the 500 class, expect Ryan to head the field, but regining champion, Manx man, Allan Brew is back again, along with newcomer, Chris McGahan, also on a 500 Seeley, Gary Jamieson is the Ulster champion on his Honda, and along with Keith Costello on a similar machine, they are also podium prospects.

Billy Lyle and Freddie Stewart look set to continue their rivalry along with former champion, Gary Hutton and one cannot discount past winner, the Evergreen scot, Wattie Brown. Making a return to the classic scene is Sam Kincaid on his 500 honda.

Supertwins race sponsored by HAYES FUELS

A few years ago, the Supertwins class was put forward as a class for the future, it wasn’t taken much notice off, and since then, the class has gradually grown in status, so much that this weekends Supertwins class is oversubscribed!, not bad going for a motor cycle that was aimed at the “commuting” market!

Heading the entry list is of course KMRs Ryan Farquhar, fresh from his seven timer at Scarborough a few weeks ago, Ryan is the favourite for this race, however, John Burrows on the Cookstown/KBM Kawasaki is the regining champion and wont be far away, Adrian Archibald has joined forces with Farquhar in the KMR Team, and has had a few outings on this wee machine, Dark horse for this race could well be Michal Dokoupil, back for another season of Irish road racing and backed again by Billy Smyth of Team Air Kawasaki, this year, Dokoupil Has traded his SV Suzuki for an ER6 Kawasaki, Michael Sweeney has been going great guns in the early short circuit races on his Suzuki, and should well be the top Suzuki runner, whilst his neighbour Andy Farrell is Kawasaki mounted and is always a hard trier, worthy of a top 6 placing, another Skerries rider on the green machine is Derek Costello, also Kawasaki mounted are Mark Morgan, Paul lennon, Tom lleweyln, newcomer to Cookstown, and former MGP winner, Alan Jackson, Coyles Wright, James McCann on the local sponsored PK Racing Kawasaki, Wayne Hamilton, and Wayne could certainly upset the applecart in this race, the former 250 support champion seems to excel on the lighter machinery, and has the ability to do so. Maria Costello is yet another person on Kawasaki, whilst one guy who has been impressive in his debut season on the national class on the roads is William Davison.

On the local front, we have Trevor Ferguson on the KMR Kawasaki, Colin McWhirter on the Hot Stuff Suzuki, Craig Gibson on the Gibson Graphics Suzuki, Ronnie Scott, Julian Kirk, and Roy Scott.

Looking ahead,



Tonight Thursday 28th April
Classic Bike Run
Sign on in Central Inn from 6.30pm until 7.30pm
Please Note, Change of Car Park!, This event will start from the BURN RD Carpark
NOT Union St Carpark, as it has done so for the past years

Friday 29th April
Practice Day
Roads Close @ 2.30pm

Saturday 30th April
RACE DAY
Roads Close at 10.00am

Buy a Programme

For a mere 10 quid, you can purchase the excellent glossy Cookstown 100 Programme, with articles and photos, along with the race guide, you cannot afford to be without one, AND Dont forget, by purchasing one, this is just a small way of helping to keep the sport we love on the road.

Newcomers;

This year, the number of newcomers are actually down, this is the first time in many years that this has happened, but i am sure the economic situation is the main factor.

Newcomers to the circuit include, Guy Martin, Sandor Bittor, former MGP winners Chris McGahan , Billy Cummins , Andrew Brady and Alan Jackson, they are joined by Noel Brennan, Brendan Flynn,

Trevor Dunlop , Roy Phipps ,Billy Cummins, David Craig ,Callum Laidlaw, Tom LLewelyn , Gareth Keys ,Wayne “Scoops”Hall, Ryan Myler, Joe Brophy, Dylan Scott , Dave Jones ,John McAllister, Robert McMullen, Peter McKillop, Noel Bertram, Derek Wilkie, Neil Lyons, Mark Hanna and Mark Shields.

Roads close on Friday for Practices, All Sessions 5 Laps

Session 1 Newcomers Only Session A

Session 2 Newcomers Only Session B

Session 3 Up to 250cc Classic

Session 4 251cc - 350cc Classic

Session 5 Over 201cc – 400cc Support (Session A Rider Number 6 – 66)

Session 6 Over 201cc – 400cc Support (Session B Rider Number 67 -202)

Session 7 Over 350cc – 1000cc Classic Session

Session 8 Lightweight 125cc GP Session

Session 9 650cc Supertwins (Session A Rider Number 5 – 59)

Session 10 650cc Supertwins (Session B Rider Number 65 – 211)

Session 11 Supersport (Session A Rider Number 3 – 39)

Session 12 Supersport (Session B Rider Number 41 - 104

Session 13 401cc – 750cc Support (Session A Rider Number 8 – 93)

Session 14 401cc – 750cc Support (Session B Rider Number 95 - 199)

Session 15 Open Practice (Session A Rider Number 3 – 54)

Session 16 Open Practice (Session B Rider Number 57 – 150)

Session 17 SS400cc & Moto 450 Session

Session 18 GP250cc Session


RACE ORDER

Race 1 Cookstown Town Centre Forum 125GP 8 Laps

Race 2 Greenvale Hotel Cookstown 201cc – 400cc Support A 8 laps

Race 3 Royal Hotel & Braeside 250GP 8 Laps

Race 4 BA Components Open Race A (Non Championship) 10 Laps

Race 5 Hayes Fuels SS400cc and Moto 450 8 Laps

Race 6 The Belfast House 250cc Classic 8 Laps

Race 7 Conway Snooker 251cc – 350cc Classic 6 Laps

Race 8 Cookstown District Council Supersport Race A 10 Laps

Race 9 Clinton Enterprises Supersport Race B 6 Laps

Race 10 Discount Stores 401cc – 750cc Support Race A 8 Laps

Race 11 Drew Stewart Auto Repairs Open Race B 6 laps

Race 12 Royal Hotel & Breaside Senior Cookstown 100 Race A 10 Laps

Race 13 Tyre Safety Centre 351cc – 1000cc Classic 8 Laps

Race 14 Hayes Fuels 650cc Supertwins Race A 8 Laps

Race 15 Hayes Fuels 650cc Supertwins Race B 6 Laps

Race 16 Clinton Enterprises 401cc - 750cc Support Race B 6 Laps

Race 17 KDM Hire 201cc – 400cc Support Race B 6 Laps

Race 18 Discount Stores Senior Cookstown 100 Race B 6 Laps

Recovery Vehicle will only go out if required on instruction from Clerk of Course

Preview by Baylon McCaughey www.irishracephotography.com

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