National Superstock 1000 title challenger Alastair Seeley will make a rare appearance on the Irish short circuit scene on Saturday at the Davy Wood Memorial meeting at Bishopscourt.
The Carrick rider will compete in the Irish Superbike class on his Tyco BMW Superstock machine at the Co Down venue as Seeley utilises a free weekend away from the British championship to gain more track time on the S1000RR ahead of the penultimate round of the Superstock 1000 series at Silverstone, which takes place from October 3-4.
The North West 200 star is locked in battle with fellow Ulsterman Josh Elliott in a thrilling duel for title honours and closed the deficit to 17 points with a hard-fought victory in the previous race at Oulton Park.
Ballinamallard’s Elliott remains in pole position for championship glory on the Morello Kawasaki, but former champion Seeley has vowed to take their title scrap to the wire at Brands Hatch on October 18.
The MCE British Superbike Showdown commences this weekend at Assen, but with no race for the Superstock 1000 class, a run out on home soil at Bishopscourt provides Seeley with a chance to compete in front of his home fans and stay sharp in readiness for Silverstone in two weeks’ time.
The event is being promoted by the Motor Cycle Road Racing Club of Ireland (MCRRCI) and Clerk of the Course Mark Sanlon says that although a quality entry has been secured, obtaining full grids proved a struggle after four successive Irish championship meetings, which he says highlights the need for a calendar rethink in 2016.
“Four Irish championship events on consecutive weekends is poor management and completely unfair on our short circuit competitors, who have to play second fiddle to the road races during the summer months,” said Sanlon.
“A better-structured championship needs put in place for 2016 to accommodate the competitors and promoting clubs.
“We are very pleased with the quality of competitors for the second David Wood Memorial Trophy event and again grateful to all our sponsors.
The main event is the Supersport class, which is different to all other Irish championship events where the Superbike races are the main event,” he added.
“Our reason for this is the late David Wood was instrumental in introducing Supersport 600cc machines to Ireland as a race class, which was hotly contested over the years under the Regal Championship banner.”
The overall winner of the Pirelli Supersport class will receive the Davy Wood Memorial Trophy plus a cheque for £1,000 and a set of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC1 tyres.
All the main title contenders are entered, including Robert Kennedy, Robert English, Jason Lynn, Christian Elkin and last year’s winner Nikki Coates.
A ‘Sail to Pole’ qualifying shootout lasting six minutes and sponsored by Nutt Travel.com will decided the grid slots for the top 10 fastest riders after normal practice.
In the Superbike class, former champion Seeley’s rivals include Ryan Rainey on the IFS Yamaha R1 and Alistair Kirk (McCurry Kawasaki), who are separated by only one point at the top of the standings.
Randalstown’s Gerard Kinghan is also among the frontrunners this weekend in the feature class.
A full card of 16-races boasting a £6,000 prize fund is scheduled, commencing at approximately 11am.
Admission: £10 (including programme, U16s free).