Locals take to the track
MANY riders had their first runs on this years bikes at Bishopscourt last Saturday, when the track ran a test day.
There were a few of the top riders out, but also a large contingent of newcomers and Clubmen, all eager to avail of the track time.
Top ISB runner Brian McCromack was probably about the fastest there, but he wasn't that much quicker than Michael Pearson, while Alistair Kirk and James Dickson were also well on the pace.
Kilrea's William Davison had his full stable of bikes out. His own CBR600, painted up in the distinctive colours of the Maine Club, suffered clutch failure, but was running well, while following an all night rebuild, Wilson Lynn's Farlough Suzuki had a minor oil leak, at a casing damaged in a previous crash. It was repaired by Williams team, and he completed the running in of the machine without further incident.
Another team badly hampered by lack of bikes was that of the English brothers, Robert and Christopher. I understand that Christopher's bike was ready, but Robert's was still having final work carried out to it, and Dad Paul felt there was little point in taking one bike.
Expect an announcement within the next couple of weeks regarding the English Racing team. There have been a couple of new backers for the lads, and final preparations are being put to a press release as I write this.
Another couple of local lads who impressed me were Ahoghill's Luke Johnston and young Jason Lynn. Both have made the step up from the 125 Aprilia class to the GP125 Newcomers.
Luke had a few problems with his bike flooding at the start of the day, but once sorted out, he built on steady lap times. He shouldnt be too far away when it comes to the overall championship.
Jason, from Upperlands, was quickly on the pace and despite a slight bump with another rider, seemed to be taking to his new bike well.
As I mentioned after the Training School, Sam Wilson, a recent convert from MX, makes steady progress, and will be another lad worth watching. I feel that this year's Newcomers 125GP class will be one of the most hotly contested in recent years.
Unfortunately that's about it, as with new bikes and colour schemes, and different riders for teams, I had problems with working out who was who. Hopefully, things will become clearer as the season progresses.
It's sit about and wait time now, as the first meeting of the year, on March 20, grows closer. That will be the first round of the Irish Clubmans Championship, to be held at Bishopscourt. The opening rounds of the ISB series will be on April 2-3.
MID ANTRIM TRIAL - NEW DATE
Cancelled a couple of weeks ago, due to the deep snow at the Parkmore Forest venue, the Mid Antrim club have managed to secure a date for the running of the Shane Cup Trial.
It will now take place this Saturday, 13th March, over the same course.
Starting at 11am, the event will mark the first round of the Michelin Mid Antrim Club Championship.
Reading the press realease, sent out to me by Jim Crawford, the club are indebted to both the DARD, and also the John Hagan Youth Academy, who allowed the Mid Antrim club to use a date originally allocated to them.
After the trial, the results will be announced in the Glensway Tavern, Martinstown, and thanks to Colm McGlade, there will also be refreshments available. Further details will be posted on www.mamc-bikes.co.uk
Hot on the heels of the news that the Tandragee 100 has been cancelled due to financial restraints, it has been announced that the Faugheen road race has also been put on hold for this year.
In a statement, issued during the week, the organising club have admitted that they simply do not have the funds to pay the 'up front' costs of promoting the meeting. They have, regrettably, taken the decision to cancel, but say that they are fully committed to running the meeting in 2011.
It has been stated that it takes something of the order of 80,000Euros to run the road race at Faugheen. It's an enormous financial outlay, and one that is being felt right across the board.
I also hear, on the grapevine, that the meeting at Athea is doubtful, but that contrary to rumours, Walderstown will go ahead. If those same rumours are to be believed, there is another meeting in the North that is feeling the pinch, and could also be forced to take a year out.
All this doom and gloom comes about as the Kells meeting announces continued backing from Adelaide Insurances, and the Aon Bikecare are confirmed as title sponsors of the 65th running of the very popular Skerries road race, as usual, the first weekend in July, and is unique in the South, as the only road race to take place on a Saturday.