Whilst leading lights such as Derek Sheils, Derek McGee, Michael Dunlop, Davey Todd may be absent, the entry across all classes for the 2021 KDM Hire Cookstown 100 is still filled with top class road racing excellence. Perennial Orritor Circuit front runners BE Racing, supported again by Richardson Kelly Racing, challenge is solely led by rising talent Michael Browne. Firmly on the pace at recent purpose built circuit races, Browne who will pilot YZF R6 Yamaha, GSX-R 1000 Suzuki machinery, is a definite contender for 600cc, 1000cc podium finishes. The same notion applies to McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam McLean. Fresh from an accomplished return to BSB affiliated Superstock 600 competition with Ian Lougher’s Team ILR squad, he knows what it takes to triumph at Cookstown and it wouldn’t at all be a surprise if he scoops the ‘Man of the Meeting’ accolade. Another anticipated front runner is Dunlop Masters Championship protagonist Michael Sweeney. Although July’s Armoy Road Races may not have proven largely prodigious for the Skerries racer, he’s been in excellent form all year and many are tipping him for Grand Final success on Saturday. Determined to end the 2021 Irish roads season in productive style, he pilots BMW machinery in the 1000cc encounters whilst his Supersport, Super Twin steeds are the EMB Yamaha and KBS Kawasaki. Others to keep an eye on in the four stroke classes include Paul Jordan (Team TBC), Darryl Tweed (McAdoo Kawasaki), 2018 Newcomers A Manx GP winner Thomas Maxwell, Davy Morgan, Richard Charlton, James Chawke, Ben Rea, Dan Harrison, Cornwall’s Forest Dunn and the evergreen Paul Cranston. Outside Supersport, Superstock, Superbike action, strong fields have been assembled for the 125/Moto 3/Supersport 300, Lightweight races with entrants to name but a few including Seamus Elliott, Nigel Moore, Paul Gartland, Rad Hughes, Kris Duncan, David Howard. Melissa Kennedy, anticipated yesteryear races front runner Barry Davidson (Trison McMullan Racing), Graham Kennedy, Linton Irwin and Stephen Tobin. Ones to watch within the always keenly contested, entertaining Junior Support, Senior Support races will include Noel Smith, Aidan Cleary, Nigel Rea, Michael Gillan, Keelim Ryan, Gary Jordan, Richard Telford, John Cahill. Looking towards the Junior Classic, Senior Classic encounters, expect competitors such as Brian Mateer, Richard Ford, Robert McCrum, Philip Shaw to fare strongly plus it’s hoped that a certain Guy Martin will be Cookstown bound! There’s also a strong line-up of Orritor Circuit debutants featuring Dundrod 150 winner, Oliver’s Mount Scarborough front runner David ‘Action’ Jackson, WH Racing’s Julian Trummer, Graham McAleese and Jack Oliver who starred on his road racing debut at Armoy. In spite of at times needless negativity about the sport on social media, there’s a definite buzz about this week’s Cookstown 100. Expect racing of the highest quality at Cookstown, as multi Irish Road Race champions, hungry next generation racers, event stalwarts and enthusiastic newcomers, aim to end their 2021 roads tenures in formidable fashion. Photo credit: Tommy Vennard, Rod Neill Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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