Around A Pound Tandragee 100 – Preview

Around A Pound Tandragee 100 – Preview

The 2017 Irish roads season springs into fruition on Friday the 21st of April, at the 57th Tandragee 100.

Retaining title sponsorship from Around A Pound, the popular event has attracted a top draw entry list.

It’s fair to say, that for many the main highlight of the meeting, will be Guy Martin’s hugely anticipated return to competition within the emerald isle.

Set to pilot his prospective Superstock TT mount, the eight times Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup winner last competed at Tandragee back in 2005.

Despite this plus the fact that this will be his first Irish national meeting in two years, you cannot discount the world record breaker, TV personality and new works Honda Racing rider from securing Open and Senior Open victories.

Reigning Irish road race Superbike champion Derek Sheils for many starts the favourite for Superbike honours, aboard the Cookstown BE Racing GSX-R 1000 Suzuki.

Established amongst the most improved roads exponents of recent years, Derek has proven he’s not just a big bike specialist, wrapping up many a first class result within the Supersport and Super Twin classes.

Photo by Rod Neill

Expect more of the same this weekend from him, same applies to Derek McGee.

Riding this year for his own team, the Mullingar based rider will without a doubt prove one of the firm favourites for victories on his McGee Racing YZF R6 Yamaha and Superstock Kawasaki steed.

William Dunlop and the IC Racing/Caffrey International backed YZF R6 Yamaha, is widely anticipated to prove the combination to beat in Saturday’s Supersport race.

With no 1000cc mount, he’s set to jockey his 600 mount, in the Open and Senior Open races.

Added potential front runners in the premier classes include Michael Sweeney (Martin Jones Racing), Paul Jordan (Site Sealants B&W Racing), Davy Morgan (Angry Bee Kawasaki) and Adam McLean (MSS/Hotties).

Photo by Rod Neill

Additional ones to watch are Darryl Tweed a definite contender for 400 honours, Seamus Elliott, Alan Bonner (Noel Williamson Racing), Thomas Maxwell, Rhys Hardisty, GSX-R 1000 Suzuki mounted Shaun Anderson, Andy Farrell and Michal “Indi” Dokoupil.

In total 42 newcomers form part of an entry list which comes close to 350 starters, they include WH Racing’s Dominic Herbertson, Manxman Jamie Williams part of Billy McKinstry’s, McKinstry Racing outfit, Germany’s Vassitios Takos, Italy’s Matteo Bleggi and Billy Mellor.

Plus the highly rated Joseph Loughlin, Stuart McCann, Noel Smith, Dougie Shearer, Stephen Casey, Forest Dunn and experienced Manx GP competitor, Colin Croft.

Photo by Rod Neill

Standout 125/Moto 3 entrants include Gary Dunlop, Neil Kernohan, Sarah Boyes, whilst prominent 400 specialist Stephen Morrison is another one to watch.

The world class quality of the entry is endless, when you also throw in the likes of Paul Gartland, Martin Bullock Manxsport’s David Lumsden, Matt Rees, Gareth Evans, Italy’s Dario Cecconi, Veronika Hankocyova and Dunlop Racing’s Sam Johnson.

Despite the difficult times, due to insurance hikes, the entry for this year’s Tandragee 100, is proof of Irish Road Racing’s continued rising popularity.

Photo by Rod Neill

A quite prodigious two meet is in prospect, with many of pure road racing’s leading riders/teams aiming to kick off their 2017 campaign’s in style, none more so than the returning Guy Martin.

Photo by Stephen Davison

All that’s left to say is roll on the practice, qualifying and race action!

Words by Stevie Rial

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