20 plus racers from varying racing backgrounds are set to tackle for the first time, on Friday the fast, flowing, technical Orritor circuit.
In recent times star names to make eye catching Cookstown 100 debuts, have included the late but great Malachi Mitchell Thomas, New Zealand’s Daniel Mettam, 2017 Lightweight Manx GP winner Darren Cooper and works Norton rider for TT 2019, Davey Todd.
Amongst those hoping the emulate the aforementioned racers, in making top draw, accomplished Cookstown debuts, include BE Racing in Conjunction with Richardson Kelly Racing’s Tom Weeden.
Photo by Baylon McCaughey
2016 Senior Manx GP victor, the affable Weeden no question has the core roads craft, proven ability to gel quickly with the Orritor course.
Speaking recently about his upcoming Cookstown debut, he stated:
“Really looking forward to getting back out to Northern Ireland this weekend. I’m going to spend Thursday driving round the circuit, to familiarise myself and reinforce the on board laps I’ve watched.
Putting no pressure on myself for results, just want to enjoy it and make further steps forward with the RK Racing by Burrows Engineering bikes, in prep for the North West 200 and TT.”
Photo by Baylon McCaughey
Dutch star Nadieh Schoots, 14th within the 2017 IRRC Superbike series, like Weeden has roads experience a plenty to bank upon, as she samples the Orritor course for the first time.
Another racer with roads experience a plenty, making his Cookstown debut, is Bradford’s Adrian Harrison.
Multi times a race winner at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, Harrison will no doubt be one to watch this week aboard his 2017 spec ZX-10RR Kawasaki steed, and the Martyn Smith/Top Gun Tools and Fixings backed CBR600RR Honda.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Additional widely known racers to pure road racing fans, that are Cookstown bound include seasoned Mountain Course exponent Lee Hembury, Sam Grief, prospective Manx GP debutant Chris Stuart and 16th place finisher within the 2016 Newcomers A Manx Grand Prix, Richard Duncan.
Outside of the event newcomers, who are no strangers to closed roads action, Cookstown debutants with no prior pure road racing experience include BSA Racing’s Andrew Sams, Wayne Pither, Aidan Cleary and 750 Suzuki mounted David Robinson.
In spite of increased at times negativity about the sport on social media, there’s a definite buzz about the start of one of the most anticipated UK roads seasons, in history.
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 kick off their 2019 roads campaigns, in fine style.
Words by Stevie Rial