Six red-hot races have been shortlisted for the coveted McLean Bookmakers Race of the Year accolade at the Adelaide Motorcycle Awards at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast on Friday, January 23.
Voting opens today with fans able to select their overall winner via a special online poll that can be accessed at www.adelaidemotorbikeawards.com or www.amcleanbookmakers.com, where highlights of the nominated races are also available to view.
The shortlist includes the thrilling opening Superbike battle between William and Michael Dunlop at the Vauxhall International North West 200 last May, which was only decided on a dramatic final lap.
Riding the Tyco Suzuki, William appeared to have established a race-winning lead only for younger brother Michael to slash his advantage in the mixed conditions.
Michael hit the front on the last lap at Metropole but William refused to go down without a fight and produced a stunning late-braking overtake at Juniper Chicane to seal his maiden international Superbike victory in a race that will live long in the memory.
Carrick rider Alastair Seeley also features in the nominations twice following his stunning performances on the roads and short circuits for the Mar-Train Racing team.
The 35-year-old powered through from 16th place at the end of the first lap in the opening Supersport race at the North West 200 to wrap up his 11th Triangle victory.
Seeley lost vital ground early in the race when he was forced onto the footpath at York Corner as a result of Lee Johnston’s crash, but undeterred he set a new lap record to catch the leaders before nailing down a hard-earned win.
The new Tyco BMW signing also features in another of the shortlisted races after coming out on top of a frenetic Supersport showdown at Oulton Park, when Seeley went head to head with fellow Carrick man Glenn Irwin and the Triumph machines of Graeme Gowland, Luke Jones and Billy McConnell.
Irwin emerged as one of the big success stories from the British Championship scene in 2014 and it is fitting that his debut triumph in the Supersport class in the wet at the opening race of the season at Brands Hatch last April also makes the final six nominations for the Race of the Year.
The Gearlink Kawasaki rider conquered the treacherous conditions to begin the season on a high and Irwin went on to finish fourth in the championship standings, winning a total of five races along the way.
Also in the frame for the prestigious gong is the Superstock race at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix, which was decided by one thousandth of a second after five furious laps.
Bradford’s Dean Harrison, Manx rider Dan Kneen and Kiwi Bruce Anstey wowed fans in the damp but drying conditions at the world’s fastest road race, with Harrison and Kneen swapping places at the front as Anstey kept a watching brief in their slipstream.
In a nerve-jangling crescendo, it was Kneen who got the verdict on John Burrows’ Suzuki as he flashed across the line side by side with Harrison on the RC Express Kawasaki, with Anstey only a tenth of a second behind in third place on Clive Padgett’s Honda.
It was Kneen’s first international success and capped a fantastic year for the Braddan man, who won the Irish Road Racing Superbike title at his first attempt.
Current Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year, Eugene Laverty, received the final nomination for his dream win on his debut for the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team in the opening World Superbike race of 2014 at Phillip Island in Australia.
Laverty forced his way to the front before pulling away to claim Suzuki’s first win in the series since 2010.
Nominations for the McLean Bookmakers Race of the Year:
ULSTER GRAND PRIX SUPERSTOCK:
Dan Kneen won from Dean Harrison by 0.001 second
NORTH WEST 200 SUPERSPORT 1:
Alastair Seeley won with a new lap record after coming from 16th position
NORTH WEST 200 SUPERBIKE 1:
Last lap duel between the Dunlop brothers as William beat Michael
BRITISH SUPERSPORT (OULTON PARK): Alastair Seeley wins frenetic race on Mar-Train Yamaha
BRITISH SUPERSPORT (BRANDS):
Glenn Irwin wins wet Sprint race :
WORLD SUPERBIKES (AUSTRALIA)
Eugene Laverty wins race one of the opening World Superbike race at Philip Island.