Amidst all the insurance problems, it truly is fantastic to write previews around the 2023 CDE Group Cookstown 100. Road Racing News pre-event previews begin with a focus on the Open, Supersport, Grand Final races. Since confirmation of his late entry for the Irish roads season opener, Michael Dunlop fans are super excited to see how the 21 times TT winner will fare on Friday and Saturday. Ten times a race winner at Cookstown, he’s since 2013 held the outright Orritor Circuit lap record. More iconic moments coming up? His addition to the 1000cc, Supersport fields, piloting the Hawk Racing Honda Superbike, MD Racing R6 Yamaha, certainly adds extra spice, every time ‘Maverick’ competes, it’s always intriguing. Perennial Orritor Circuit front-runners BE Racing, title backed again by Richardson Kelly Racing, challenge is headed by the in-form Michael Browne. Enkalon Trophy winner this month, Browne has gelled quickly with the ex-TAS Racing M1000RR BMW, purchased last year by his racing suitors. Established now as one of Irish road racing’s strongest exponents, he’s a certain contender for more four stroke success. Another anticipated front runner is reigning Irish Road Race Superbike Champion, Michael Sweeney. Determined to kick start the new season in ultra-productive fashion, he’s due to race the Martin Jones Racing BMW and EM Building Yamaha. Others more than capable of securing stellar finishes include Parker Transport Racing’s Darryl Tweed, WH Racing’s Julian Trummer, James Chawke and upcoming TT newcomers Keelim Ryan, Marcus Simpson. Further depth to the entry is provided by esteemed competitors including Wilson Craig Racing’s Matt Rees, the evergreen Paul Cranston, Manx GP hero Andy Farrell. 78 plate holder Dean Campbell, the Isle of Wight’s Ryan Whitehall, Obsession Engineering’s Martin Morris and GSX-R 1000 Suzuki mounted racers Barry Sheehan, Liam Chawke. Not long now till we will know who claims this year’s Cookstown Supersport, Open, Grand Final crowns, close, intriguing action is inevitable! Photo’s by Derek Wilson, Rod Neill, Tommy Vennard Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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