Tyco Suzuki’s William Dunlop has been confirmed for April’s KDM Hire Cookstown 100, but team-mate Guy Martin will miss the annual Irish road racing season opener in County Tyrone.
Dunlop will make his race debut at the event for the Moneymore team on April 26 on the TAS Racing Superbike and Supersport machines as the 28-year-old commences his 2014 campaign between the hedges.
Lincolnshire star Martin, though, won’t be on the grid at Cookstown, opting instead to compete in the opening Endurance World Championship round at the Bol d’Or 24-Hours race at Magny-Cours in France, which takes place over the same weekend.
Martin finished on the podium at the legendary Le Mans 24-Hours meeting at the end of last season for French team R2CL Suzuki and is using the endurance series to gain valuable track time ahead of the Isle of Man TT in June in particular.
His absence from the national scene at Cookstown next month will leave many fans disappointed, but Tyco Suzuki will still support the event with new signing Dunlop, who has returned home from Spain following two pre-season tests at Almeria and Cartagena.
“Cookstown will be a good chance to see how the bikes handle on the roads,” said Dunlop. “It was great to have the chance to get some testing done in Spain and get time on the bikes and meet all the team.
“But I’m looking forward to riding the bikes on the roads and the plan is to go with the Superbike and Supersport bikes.
“I’ll have another run out on the bikes before Cookstown, probably at Kirkistown, and we’ve still some work to do, but overall the tests in Spain went well and the bikes felt good.”
Manxman Dan Kneen will make his debut at the event for Dungannon race team owner John Burrows’ Cookstown BE Racing outfit.
Kneen will ride a Suzuki Superbike plus a 600cc Honda purchased from World Supersport team PTR and is also entered on a 650cc Kawasaki Supertwin.
Practice takes place on Friday, April 25 with roads closing at 12 noon.
On race day, Saturday, April 26, roads will close at 10am sharp for Irish road racing’s annual curtain-raiser.