William Dunlop and Derek Sheils add touch of class to superb Enkalon line-up

Derek Sheils on the CD Racing MSS Kawasaki
Derek Sheils on the CD Racing MSS Kawasaki

Tyco Suzuki’s William Dunlop and current Enkalon Trophy holder Derek Sheils have confirmed their entries for the 38th running of the famous race at Bishopscourt on Saturday.

Dunlop, who had the benefit of more track time during a test on Wednesday at Kirkistown, is entered on the TAS Racing Supersport machine and may also make an appearance on the GSX-R1000 Superbike.

Dublin man Sheils lifted the trophy a year ago for the second time and will be aiming to retain the silverware on Chris Dowd’s Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike, which has been prepared by tuning specialists MSS.

Confirmation that the pair will be in action this weekend has added a touch of gloss to an already quality line-up for the traditional Easter meeting, which is promoted by the Motor Cycle Road Racing Club of Ireland.

The prestigious Enkalon Trophy is steeped in history and a host of top names have lifted the honours since the first running of the race in 1977, including Ray McCullough, Sam McClements, Johnny Rea, Alan Irwin, Gary Cowan, Robert Dunlop, Phillip McCallen, Alastair Seeley, Cameron Donald, Michael Laverty and Marshall Neill.

Portadown man Neill is absent as he competes in the opening British Superbike round at Brands Hatch in the National Superstock 1000 class, but Irish Superbike champion Nico Mawhinney, David Haire, Mark Glasgow and Denver Robb are entered along with form man Cody Nally, who has made a flying start to 2014.

Nally won three of the first four ISB races at Mondello Park and Bishopscourt and bagged a treble at the opening Adelaide Masters Series round, including victory in the Grand Final.

Jamie Hamilton will ride Wilson Craig’s Hondas for the first time as the Ballyclare rider builds towards next weekend’s KDM Hire Cookstown 100.

SGS/KMR Kawasaki pair Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor are the class of the Supertwin 650 field, with Scottish star Amor competing in the Supersport races on the ex-Wilson Craig Honda CBR600RR with backing from new sponsor Rip Deluge.

Stephen Thompson finished second overall in the 2013 Enkalon race, which is once again supported by Adelaide Insurance Services, and will be aiming for another rostrum result on his Bathams BMW S1000RR Superstock machine.

The Crumlin man will ride alongside Michael Rutter on the eye-catching black and gold bikes at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT this season and will also compete at the Cookstown 100.

Along with Dunlop, Amor, Hamilton and Sheils (CD Racing Yamaha), the Supersport ranks are boosted by Haire plus Carl Phillips, Connor Parkhill, Jason Lynn, Robert English, Christian Elkin and Mawhinney.

A total of 240 entries have been received for the 16-race schedule, with full grids in the main classes.

Practice is scheduled to get under way on Saturday at 9am, with the first race due off at 11am.