‘Race of Year’ shortlist confirmed for Cornmarket Motorbike Awards

Alastair Seeley (34) and Josh Elliott (10) were involved in an epic British Superstock 1000 race at Brands Hatch last summer.
Alastair Seeley (34) and Josh Elliott (10) were involved in an epic British Superstock 1000 race at Brands Hatch last summer.

Fans will have the chance to vote for the Race of the Year at next Friday’s star-studded Cornmarket Motorbike Awards in Belfast via a special online Twitter poll.

The vote will remain live until moments before the overall winner is announced at the sold-out glittering awards bash at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on January 29.

Sponsored by A.McLean Bookmakers, the judging panel – chaired by former British champion Adrian Coates – faced the unenviable task of whittling the nominations down to four of the most memorable on-track battles from the 2015 season.

Two races from the British championship, and one each from the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix have made the shortlist, with Carrick rider Alastair Seeley featuring twice.

The 36-year-old, who drew level with Robert Dunlop’s record of 15 wins at the North West 200 last year following a sublime hat-trick, edged a nail-biting second Supersport race at the 8.9-mile ‘Triangle’ course after a red-hot tussle with event newcomer Glenn Irwin and Lee Johnston.

The race went down to the wire, with Seeley coming out on top as the trio braked hard into the all-important Juniper Hill chicane on the last lap.

The diminutive Ulster rider was also embroiled in another breath-taking duel, this time locking horns with British Superstock 1000 rival and eventual champion Josh Elliott from Ballinamallard at Brands Hatch in the summer.

The pair traded blows as they laid it all on the line for supremacy, with Seeley prevailing on the Tyco BMW after Elliott slid off at the last corner.

The world’s fastest road race at the fearsome Dundrod course also features in the Race of the Year category after Fermanagh man ‘General’ Lee Johnston went bar-to-bar with international road racing sensation Peter Hickman in the Ulster Grand Prix Superstock race.

Louth man Hickman had dictated matters in the early stages on the Briggs Equipment BMW, but Johnston upped the ante with a blistering lap of 132.793mph on his East Coast BMW to forge ahead.

Johnston was made to fight all the way for his maiden Ulster GP win, crossing the line to seal a deserved victory by only nine hundredths of a second.

The final shortlisted race centres on exciting Jordanstown prospect Andy Reid’s debut success in the British Supersport class at Oulton Park.

Riding the Team Traction Control Yamaha, Reid proved his mettle and showcased his ability in an epic race, battling back from fifth place after a dramatic clash with team-mate James Rispoli to scythe through the pack and cling on for a breakthrough success.

To vote for the 2015 A.McLean Bookmakers Race of the Year, follow live updates on Twitter @BikeAwards next Friday evening.

A dozen accolades will be presented, including the prestigious Irish Motorcyclist of the Year award, plus IFS International Road Racer, JWA Team of the Year, Black Horse Short Circuit Rider, Kawasaki UK Off Road Rider, RPS Hall of Fame, Noonan Services to Motorcycling, Digital Printing Outstanding Achievement, Belfast Telegraph Best Rider on UK and Ireland Circuits, and a Greenlight Television Special Recognition honour.