The organisers of next month’s Sunflower Trophy race meeting at Bishopscourt have promised to secure a top class line-up as the prestigious short circuit event returns to the calendar after a year’s absence.
A decision to switch the famous old race to a summer date in 2012 proved disastrous, with teams involved in the British Superbike and Supersport series unwilling to run the risk of their riders picking up injuries with everything still to play for in the middle of the season.
Thankfully, common sense has prevailed this year and the Sunflower has reverted back to its traditional Autumn date, with the race taking place next month on Saturday, October 26 - one week after the conclusion of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch.
Scottish rider Stuart Easton will ride in the Supersport and Superbike classes at Bishopscourt for the Temple-based Mar-Train Racing team.
Easton, who is aiming to extend his lead over title rival Alastair Seeley in the British Supersport Championship this weekend at Assen, could face the Gearlink Kawasaki star in a renewal of the pair’s season-long rivalry at the Sunflower.
It is understood Moneymore outfit Tyco Suzuki will also contest the event.
British Superbike and MotoGP team owner Paul Bird has been a loyal supporter of the Ulster showpiece in the past and has confirmed his interest in continuing that association next month.
Clogher man Keith Farmer, whose ride in the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki BSB team has been taken over by Noriyuki Haga as the 26-year-old he continues to battle a mystery virus, has told the News Letter he intends to skip the final three rounds of the championship.
On Wednesday evening, Farmer also expressed doubt that he would have recovered sufficiently to compete at the Sunflower meeting even if he was offered the opportunity to ride one of Bird’s Kawasaki ZX-10Rs.
Long-time sponsor Jim Finlay, who has backed the event since 1977, is back on board yet again after recovering from illness.
The Hillsborough Club’s Denis Wilson said: “We can’t say how much we are indebted to Jim Finlay for all his support - not many sponsors show that kind of loyalty.
“We are at an advanced stage concerning finalising entries from British championship teams and more details will be announced soon.”
Practice will take place on Friday, October 25 with the big race on Saturday, October 26.