Alastair Seeley gunning for Kirkistown titles
The Ulster Superbike Championship continues on Saturday with the Belfast and District Club’s ‘King of Kirkistown’ meeting at the Co Down circuit.
The event will be the fourth round of the series, which is currently scheduled to run over six rounds after the Mid Antrim Club stepped in to host the finale at Bishopscourt on October 2, following the cancellation of the St Angelo meeting in Enniskillen.
Carrick’s Alastair Seeley has been the dominant force in the Superbike and Supersport classes as he returned to the domestic scene in 2021 after struggling to land a competitive ride in the British championship.
“I still believe I could run at the front in the British championship if I had a competitive Supersport bike,” Seeley said.
“But I’m glad to be in a good team with good guys around me and I’m sure the other guys see me as a bit of a target after coming home to race, but the objective is always to get the race wins.”
Seeley has taken the Superbike class by storm on the IFS Yamaha R1, winning all seven races held so far for a perfect record.
He leads the championship running by 83 points from Ali Kirk, who has been in excellent form on the AKR/McCurry Racing BMW this season.
In the Supersport class, Seeley – a former two-time British champion – has also set the pace on the IFS Life Pass Yamaha R6, taking five victories from seven to open an advantage of 48 points over Isle of Man TT star Michael Dunlop.
Ballymoney rider Dunlop has been a regular on the short circuits this year, with most Irish road races cancelled.
The 31-year-old dominated at his home meeting at Armoy with five wins and a new outright lap record at the end of July and will again be the man to beat at next weekend’s Cookstown 100 in Co Tyrone, which is the final Irish road race of the year.
Dunlop underlined his form with a hard-fought Supersport victory last weekend at Mondello Park in Co Kildare, when he edged out Masters Championship leader Kevin Keyes in a photo finish to win race two.
Seeley’s target is to win both Ulster championships this year with the aim of staking his claim for a racing return in England in 2022, when he will also be chasing a milestone 25th victory at the North West 200.
His opposition at Kirkistown includes Cookstown’s Gary McCoy, who denied Seeley a clean sweep at Bishopscourt last month when he prevailed in a wet second Supersport race.
Skerries man Michael Sweeney will also be in action as he prepares for the Cookstown 100, although fellow Republic of Ireland rider Derek Sheils – last year’s winner of the ‘King of Kirkistown’ title – is expected to sit out this weekend’s meeting.
Mike Browne from Cork is entered on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki and Yamaha machines in the Superbike and Supersport classes respectively.
Browne will be the Dungannon team’s sole representative at the Cookstown 100 after Paul Jordan parted company from John Burrows’ outfit in an ‘amicable’ split after Armoy.
Magherafelt man Jordan now looks set to ride Yamaha machinery for Prez Racing.
Qualifying is scheduled to commence at 9am on Saturday morning, followed by a full programme of races, headlined by the ‘King of Kirkistown’ Superbike events and ‘Prince of Kirkistown’ Supersport races.
Admission is by online booking only, which closed on Wednesday.