Dunlops Head star studded entry for KDM Cookstown 100
The 2014 KDMCookstown 100 will signal the start of the Irish road racing scene, and with a star studded entry boasting the top names in road racing, Michael & William Dunlop, Derek Sheilds, Dan Kneen, Shaun Anderson, Derek McGee, Michael Pearson and Jamie Hamilton are just some of the mouth watering names you can expect to see come Friday and Saturday 25th/26th April.
Michael Dunlop, the 24 year old from Ballymoney was the only rider to have won a race at each of the International road race meetings in 2013, and for this year, shocked everyone by signing for the German concern, BMW! The KDM Cookstown 100 will also set the scene for the Dunlop / McAdoo /MD Racing /BMW road race debut!.
Robert and Joey have 11 wins each at the Cookstown 100, and William is sitting on 9 wins, Can he beat his Dads and Uncles record this year? As always, William doesn’t say too much, but admits, this will be his best ever chance at Cookstown, with the new suzukis, and more testing than ever before the first race, William is quietly confident.
Michael is still undecided about his choice of machinery for the 600 class, and hopes to put the handling gremlins of the 650 kawasaki behind him, as he wheels out the McAdoo Racing bike in the Supertwins class.
The KDM Cookstown 100 will also witness brother William make his road race debut for the Moneymore based TYCO Suzuki team. William has already got quite a bit of testing sorted, both here and in warmer climates, and has probably more mileage under his belt prior the KDM Cookstown 100 than ever before, so he will be well prepared on both the 1000and 600 suzuki machines. William is also entered in the 125 class,where he will come up against his cousin, Sam , who is the regining 125Irish road race champion, Nigel Moore, Daley Mathesion ,former British 125 championship race winner, Paul Jordan and german newcomer, Rene Loshe!.
Derek Sheilds, will ride a new MSS Kawasaki for Chris Dowds, and the ex William Dunlop 600 Yamaha for Ivan Curran, Michael Pearson will also be on board new MSS Kawasaki superbike under the Team Hotties racing banner.
Manx rider, Dan Kneen is a newcomer to the KDMCookstown 100,and will be riding for the locally based BE Racing team, managed by past Cookstown 100 Man of the Meeting award winner, John Burrows, riding both Suzuki superbike and Honda 600.
Derek McGee, one of the up and coming stars in road racing continues to run his own team, and will continue to ride his 600 yamaha and 1000 kawasaki.
Shaun Anderson, is probably one of the most underated riders here in Ireland, but his performances cannot be forgotten, in only his second time at IOM TT, Shaun was lapping just shy of 125 mph!
Jamie Hamilton,last years Irish Supertwin road race champion, now landed with his dream team ; WCR (Wilson Craig Racing). Having served his apprenticeship with Ryan Farquhar, the former British 600 Junior stock champion, feels ,he is ready to move to the next level, and certainly, with the WCR machinery, he looks set to do just that.
Despite the fact, that one of the crowds favourite riders is missing from the grid this year, Guy Martin, who is riding in the Bol”D “Or the same weekend, The KDM Cookstown 100 Entry list is one of the best in recent years .
Names such as, James Cowton, James Kelly, Mark Hanna, Shane Egan, Garth Keyes, Seamus Elliot, Conor Behan and Alan Bonner, are just some of the up and coming stars, who are also entered.
Maria Costello MBE, leads female invasion at KDM Cookstown 100, Maria,is making a return to the KDM Cookstown 100, where there will be no less than Four female competitors on the grids!
Joining Maria, will be, Czechoslovakian , Veronika Hankocyova, Cookstown regular, Yvonne Montgomery, making a welcome return will be Sarah Boyes, and newcomer to Cookstown, Enniskillens Melissa Kennendy!
Maria Costello, presently competing in the Barry Sheene memorial classic event in Australia, will be on board her HOL-TAJ 600 Honda, and Supertwin Kawasaki. and Maria has family connections in the Cookstown area,
“ Mini International” KDMCookstown 100
Czecholavakian Michael “Indie” Dukopil, leads a mini International flavour for the First road race of the year, Always a popular visitor to Cookstown, Micahel is entered in four races,his girlfriend, Veronika will ride in the 400 support race.
Italian riders,Dario Ceconni and Davide Ansaldi are both returning to this event, Dario,hoping to wipe out memories of last year,when he crashed in practice, and his bike was too badly damaged to continue.
London based Portuguese rider, Nuno Caetano will be making his second appearance at the KDMCookstown 100, Nuno will be looking for more luck than he had on his debut last season. Despite carrying an injury from a previous outing, Nuno managed to qualify , but his 600 bike blew up in the early stages of the 600 race. A former circuit rider, Nuno is now an out and out road racer. And from Germany, will be Rene Loshe, who will compete in the 125 class
Two new awards will be presented at the KDM Cookstown 100.The Trevor Ferguson Memorial Cup,donated by the Ferguson family, will be presented to the best 750 competitor in the KDM Cookstown 100 race, and the Denis Gallagher Memorial Trophy, donated by his wife Phyllis, who has since sadly passed away, this trophy will go to the best overseas rider in the 350 classic race.
With over 40 circuit newcomers, this is the given proof, that road racing is still as popular as ever, and with some re surfacing being done to the circuit, given good weather, it looks likely, that the circuit record will go.
The Cookstown 100 is the Oldest road race on the Irish race calendar, and this year there is an added bonus of an extra race,!,Yes, 19 races in total!!
Speaking at the Press Conference, Robert Kelly from the local council, said, that the Cookstown 100 was the Biggest Local sporting event!
Fellow councilor, Trevor Wilson, spoke of how much coverage, the Cookstown 100 gave them, without doubt, the best event, that the Cookstown Forum could be involved in forcoverage!
Lets have a wee look at each class
The SUPERTWINS Race sponsored by HAYES FUELS & DREW STEWART AUTO REPAIRS
Unfortunately, the KMR duo of Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor are non starters in this race, but there will still be extra close racing in this class.Michael Dunlop wheels out the McAdoo Kawasaki, and will be a darkhorse in this race, admitting to not being a fan of the twins,Michael hopes that his machine will be up to the fore, along side last years champion, Jamie Hamilton, who will ride the Stewart Smith Kawasaki. Dan Kneen will have his first outing on the BE Racing Kawasaki, whilst Czech rider Michael Dukopil wont be far away.The Hotties team of Paul Gartland and Michael Pearson are an added bonus to this race which will also have Davy Morgan on a new machine, coursety of CMS,
Derek Sheilds has also joined the ranks of the supertwins on a Kawasaki as has Derek McGee who surprised so many at last years UGP. Michael Sweeney is a dark horse,finished second here last year!.The up and coming stars could easily upset the regulars, riders such as, Mark Hanna, Shane Egan, james Cowton, Ivan Shanley, Shaun Anderson, Conor Behan,, and making a return is James McCann .shaun Anderson could well turn out on an Aprillia 450 for this race,the bike is currently being built by ex racer Trevor Scott, and the project is an expiriement for the roads.
250 Race sponsored by KDM HIRE
The revival of the 250 class has brought a smile to many, both riders and spectators alike, originally, the club had decided against running this class, but some rider input and discussions took place,and a deal was agreed ,and thankfully we have a good grid of 250s. Unfortunately one rider wont be on the grid, and that is 250 campaigner,Brian Mateer, who suffered injuries at a recent Bishopscourt meeting, thus ruling him out of contention for the race.
English rider Kevin Strowger,is the only past winner on the grid!, so there are plenty of eager challengers, Seamus Elliot ( D&G WRAY RACING Honda) ,Michael Sweeney (BE Racing Honda), Mark Hanna, Daley Mathesion, Paul Robinson, david Guiney are all potential winners, add in, exciting newcomer, Neil Keronhan, Garth Keys (D&GWray Honda), sam Dunlop, and last years Manx Grand Prix newcomer, Ben Rea, who purchased a 250 earlier than he intended to, just to get racing here at Cookstown!
What a line up for the Cookstown 100 and Superbike races; Sponsored by KDM HIRE COOKSTOWN. Heading the list are of course the Dunlop Brothers, Michael and William, both on new machinery for 2014.For both of them, this will be their first try out on the roads for their new mounts for the forthcoming season. William admittedly has a few more miles under his belt in testing than brother Michael has, but armed with a new BMW, which is really unknown quanity on the roads, Micheal will no doubt be out to prove his worth, more so, as he will be passing his race sponsors house each lap!.McAdoo Racing, now in their 333rd year of supporting riders, this is no mean achievement for the local enthuastic sponsors, and, yes, they would love to see a winning debut. But when you have the likes of Derek Sheilds, Derek McGee, Michael Pearson, Davy Morgan ( Ex MD Honda), Michael Sweeney, the Dunlops wont have it their own way. Riders who could upset the applecart include circuit newcomer and making his roads debut for the locally based race team, Dan Kneen will be on board john Burrows BE Racing Suzuki, Jamie Hamilton, having served his apprecticeship with KMR, Now riding for the Wilson Craig Racing team,and on board Honda machinery, The underated Shaun Anderson, Alan Bonner,who hopes to make his IOM TT Debut later this year, will be on board his Honda, Stephen Thompspon,BMW, and Brian McCormack TAG Racing Honda, John Walsh,Garth Keys,Paul Cranston,Seamus Elliot, on board a new zx10Kawasaki (D&G Wray Racing),Richard ,McCloughlin etc.
There will be a new award in the main race, and it will be for the best 750 finisher, who will recive the Trevor Ferguson Memorial trophy, donated by the Ferguson family.
In what was a dying class a few years ago, the 400 race, sponsored by sxxxxx has a full grid! Michael Dukopil, Andy Farrell,Vic Allan,Rikki McGovern,Alaistair Bayley, Alaistair Haworth,( Doons stores Yamaha) David Howard, Sam Wilson,, it isn’t easy picking a winner there!
600 race, sponsored by COOKSTOWN DISTRICT COUNCIL and BRAESIDE BAR & RESTAURANT
Again all the main riders in action, just as in the superbike races, also included in the entry list are Dave Hewson, , James Kelly, Andy Farrell,wayne Kirwan, Denis Booth, Nigel Rea Scott Campbell, who has dcided to put retirement behind him!, Michael Dunlop still hasn’t decided what make of machine he will ride, it’s a tossup between Kawasaki or Honda.
There will also be an invitation 600 race, sponsored by the ROYALHOTEL. This is a non championship race.
The 1000 classic race, sponsored by the TYRE SAFETY CENTRE Cookstown, will have local ace, Robert McCrum on board the ATH Weslake, up against riders such as John Scott, Scotlands Wattie Brown, Billy Lyle, Freddie Stewart, Gary Hutton,Barry Davison will make his debut on the Monteith Matchless, and Alex Conroy.
The 125 class, sponsored by COOKSTOWN TOWN FORUM, is wide open this year, William Dunlop, although entered, will now give this race a miss, as he wants to concentrate on the superbike which follows after the 125 race. NigelMoore, the local man, could be the man to beat, but along with Paul Robinson, the 125 champion, Sam Dunlop, Paul Jordan,Daley Mathesion, Warren Reeve etc, we are in for an exciting race
The 400 support race, the stars of tomorrow!, unknown quanity here, as most of the competitors will be making their road race debuts!.Last years MGP Newcomers winner Ben Rea could be the one to watch, but also look out for;Vic Allan, Alaistair Haworth,Wayne Hall, Derek Costello, Neil Keronhan, Melvin Hollingsworth, Brendan Merrigan, Brian Coomey, and Billy Lyle who will be on board a 250Honda!.
The 250 classic race sponsored by R&N GREENKEEPER ltd, Cookstown, includes Maria Costello MBE, on the Bob Jackson Suzuki, Kevin Strowger, and Wattie Brown, all on suzukis, Barry Davison on the Dempster Honda, , and last years champion, the consistent Philip Shaw.
More race details to follow soon!
All classes will have practice and qualifying, where the top 23 will go into the A race, the others will go in the B classes.
The KDM Cookstown 100 will take place on Friday (practice)and Saturday, 25th/26th April. Roads Close on Friday at 12 noon, and on Saturday at 10.00am.
The KDM Cookstown 100 is also the second counting round of the 2014 Duke Rankings Championship, and the first round of the season in NI.
Programme of Events Race Week 2014
Thursday 3rd April – Press Launch, Royal Hotel from 7.30pm
Thursday 10th April – Liaison Night, Royal Hotel from 7.30pm
Sunday 13th April – Annual Bikers’ Service, Orritor Presbyterian Church 3.30pm
Saturday 12th April – Treasure Hunt and BBQ; Sign on Burn Road Car Park from 6.00pm
Tuesday 22nd April – Vintage Vehicle Run, Union Street Car Park from 6.30pm leaving at 7.30pm
Thursday 24th April – Classic Bike Run, Burn Road Car Park leaving at 7.15pm
Sign on from 6.30pm in Burn Road Car Park, Cookstown
Words/photo Baylon McCaughey irishracephotography.com
Dunlops Head star studded entry for KDM Cookstown 100