Michael Dunlop and Alastair Seeley set for first Ulster Superbike event of year
A star-studded entry has been received for this year’s first Ulster Superbike short circuit meeting at Kirkistown in Co Down on Saturday, including 19-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop and two-time British champion Alastair Seeley.
The Belfast and District Club’s event was postponed from June 5 due to the limit of 500 people at outdoor gatherings.
However, the NI Executive eased the restriction as part of a further relaxation of Covid-19 measures, although admission to the President’s Cup meeting this weekend is open only to those who booked their tickets online.
Bookings have now closed and the organisers have advised anyone without a pre-booked ticket not to turn up at the event.
The club ran the only short circuit race in Northern Ireland last September, when southern Irishman Derek Sheils won the ‘King of Kirkistown’ title on his Roadhouse Macau BMW.
Sheils will be among the favourites once again and comes to the event following a victory and runner-up finish at the first round of the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park in Co Kildare last month.
Ballymoney man Dunlop is also on the entry list and the 32-year-old won both Supersport races at Kirkistown last September on his Yamaha R6.
He was also right in the mix in the Superbike races, claiming a runner-up finish in the first Superbike event and third in the second race on a Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Dunlop has been keeping himself busy this year, making a successful debut at the Daytona 200 in February – finishing 11th – and participating in a number of British Superbike tests, plus the opening round of the championship last month in the National Superstock 1000 class at Oulton Park.
Carrickfergus man Alastair Seeley the all-time record holder at the North West 200 with 24 victories, is undertaking a full domestic season for the first time since 2009 in the Superbike and Supersport classes on the IFS Yamaha machines.
Seeley won the Irish Superbike championship in 2005 and defended the title the following year, when he also secured the Supersport crown.
The 41-year-old has enjoyed an illustrious career in the British championship, winning the Superstock 1000 title in 2009 and the Supersport championship in 2009, and should prove to be a tough nut to crack.
Another leading contender is Jason Lynn, who was leading the second Superbike race at the ‘King of Kirkistown’ meeting last year from Sheils and Dunlop when it was red-flagged.
Lynn, from Upperlands in Co Londonderry, was confirmed as the race winner after a result was declared and he will be gunning for more success on the J McC Roofing Racing Suzuki.
McAdoo Racing’s Adam McLean is another top name on the grid who will be targeting the rostrum in the Superbike and Supertwin races. The Tobermore man, a winner in the Supersport class at the Dunlop Masters at the end of June, will be joined at Kirkistown by new team-mate Darryl Tweed.
Mullingar’s Derek McGee and fellow leading Republic of Ireland road racer Michael Sweeney add more depth to the impressive field, while hot young prospect Cameron Dawson will take the opportunity to compete at home after clinching two excellent runner-up finishes in the British Junior Supersport races at the Donington Park World Superbike round last weekend.
Other likely protagonists include Ali Kirk (AKR/McCurry BMW) and Ryan Gibson on his Kawasaki.
Qualifying is scheduled to commence from 9am for the Superbike class with the final session for Classic machines due to take place from 11am, followed by the first race shortly afterwards.