William Dunlop is set for a return to action this weekend at the Carole Nash Kells Road Races in Co Meath following his crash at the Isle of Man TT.
Dunlop clinched fifth place on the Tyco BMW in the RST Superbike race but was ruled out of the remainder of the event after coming off at Laurel Bank during a practice lap on the S1000RR Superstock machine, suffering a broken rib and bruising.
The 29-year-old had initially targeted a return at the Skerries 100 on July 4 but is among the entries for the Kells meeting at the Crossakiel circuit, which returned to the Irish road racing calendar last year after a two-year absence.
Dunlop missed the event in 2014 as he recovered from a broken leg after crashing at Graham Memorial in the Senior TT, but the Ballymoney man will line up on the Chris Dowd/Ivan Curran Racing Caffrey Yamaha R6 on Sunday.
Earlier this week, Dunlop said: “I’m feeling a lot better now and I could probably jump on a bike now and ride one if I wanted to. I’m not so bad that I’ll miss the Southern 100 so I’ll be fine for that.
“I don’t intend on sitting out for too long and as for Skerries, I’ll probably do that with the 600 but I’ll need to see what the situation is regarding the big bike with Philip [Neill].
“It was the worst feeling in the world missing most of the TT and there’s still the Ulster Grand Prix to come, but it’s not the TT.
“It only comes around once a year and that was my chance gone.”
The last time Dunlop competed at Kells he chalked up a hat-trick, beating his brother Michael and Aussie Cameron Donald in the Supersport race and completing a two-strokes double in the 125cc and 250cc races.
His opposition includes Mullingar’s Derek McGee, who impressed on Wilson Craig’s Honda machines on his debut at the Isle of Man TT.
McGee finished 19th in the second Monster Energy Supersport race with a best lap at 122.175mph and clinched his best result in the Lightweight event on the McGee Racing/Wogan Performance Kawasaki, taking an excellent 11th.
Meath’s Alan Bonner, who also excelled at the TT on only his second appearance with impressive 15th and 16th place finishes on the Peoplesbike.com Kawasaki in the Senior and Superbike races respectively, is also entered along with Cheshire’s Connor Behan and Waterford man Brian McCormack, while Dublin’s Derek Sheils is another top contender on the BikeBits NI Kawasaki.
Practice takes place from tomorrow, with roads closed from 1pm. The Junior and Senior Classic races are scheduled to take place following practice, time permitting.
On Sunday, roads close at 11am sharp for a 10-race programme.
1. Supersport 600cc
2. Support 401-750cc
3. Junior 250-400cc
4. Moto 3 Incorporating 125cc
5. Supertwins A.
6. Support A 201-400cc
7. Supertwins B
8. Open 201-1010cc
9. Support B 201-400cc
10. Carole Nash Grand Final
Meanwhile, the Barry Sheene Festival takes place this weekend at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough.
A high quality field includes Mar-Train Racing’s Dean Harrison, SGS/KMR Kawasaki’s Ryan Farquhar, James Cowton and Jamie Coward, with Lee Johnston also set to compete on a Heron Suzuki in the Classic Formula One class.
The action starts tomorrow at 10am with racing due under way at midday.
On Sunday, practice starts at 9am with racing set to commence at 1.45pm.