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Lee Johnston leads Alastair Seeley and James Hillier in the Thursday evening Supersport race at the North West 200.
Lee Johnston leads Alastair Seeley and James Hillier in the Thursday evening Supersport race at the North West 200.
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Eight sensational races have been shortlisted for the prestigious A. McLean Bookmakers ‘Race of the Year’ accolade next Friday at the Irish Motorbike Awards in association with Charles Hurst and Cornmarket.

The recognition is one of the most eagerly anticipated categories at the star-studded black tie bash at Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Fans can vote for their favourite race of 2019 now on the Irish Motorbike Awards Facebook page and the winner will be announced next Friday evening.

The nominations include Peter Hickman’s record-breaking Superbike victory at the Ulster Grand Prix last August.

Hickman set a new benchmark of seven wins from seven starts at Dundrod and established a new world road racing lap record in excess of 136mph on his way to victory in the opening Superbike event on the Thursday of race week on his Smiths Racing BMW.

The incredible average speed handed the title of the world’s fastest road race back to the Ulster GP after Hickman broke the 135mph barrier at the Isle of Man TT in 2018.

Young prospect Eunan McGlinchey’s maiden Superstock 600 win in the driving rain at Knockhill in Scotland is also on the shortlist. The Aghadowey rider beat eventual champion Korie McGreevy and Caolan Irwin on his Team 109 Kawasaki in the challenging conditions.

Carrickfergus man Alastair Seeley’s thrilling victory over 2019 British Supersport champion Jack Kennedy in the Sprint race at Brands Hatch in June last year is also featured.

The pair were embroiled in some thrilling battles in the early stages of the championship before Kennedy stamped his authority on the title race, but it was former champion Seeley who got the verdict on this occasion as he edged out the Dubliner on the line to win by only 0.026 seconds.

Also on the shortlist is road racing star Michael Dunlop, whose season was hampered by injury last year.

However, the 19-time TT winner was still able to maintain his remarkable unbeaten record in the feature ‘Race of Legends’ at Armoy.

Only 16 days after breaking his pelvis at the Southern 100, Dunlop arrived at his home road race on crutches, but the 30-year-old battled through the pain barrier to win the big race of the day for an eighth successive time on the Tyco BMW to the delight of his local fans.

In the British championship, there was a memorable moment for Ballinamallard’s Josh Elliott, who toasted his maiden success in the elite British Superbike Championship at Silverstone.

Riding for the OMG Suzuki team, Elliott began the campaign on a high as he narrowly held off Scotsman Tarran Mackenzie to win by a few thousandths of a second.

Fellow Ulsterman Andrew Irwin also had plenty to celebrate as the Honda Racing rider clinched a dream BSB win at Thruxton, where he beat the PBM Ducati pairing of Scott Redding and Josh Brookes, who went on to finish first and second respectively in the Showdown.

A nail-biting final race of the season in the Superstock 600 Championship at Brands Hatch in October saw Co. Down rider Korie McGreevy claim a vital win to seal the title.

When main rival Shane Richardson was ruled out of the race with machine trouble, McGreevy needed a victory to wrap up the championship and he pulled out all the stops to win by 0.2 seconds, claiming the crown by six points from the luckless Richardson.

The nominations are completed by Fermanagh man Lee Johnston’s dramatic win in the Thursday evening Supersport race at the North West 200.

Johnston, riding his Ashcourt Racing Yamaha, battled it out with 24-time NW200 winner Alastair Seeley and fellow international road racers James Hillier and Dean Harrison.

On the final lap, Johnston and Seeley traded places at the front to set up a grandstand finish at the Juniper Hill chicane.

As the fans held their breath, it was Johnston who prevailed after Seeley ran in too hot on the brakes and crashed out after running onto the grass, leaving Harrison in second place.

A total of 12 awards will be presented next Friday, when five-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea is set to be crowned the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year once again