KDM Hire Cookstown 100 Preview

KDM Hire Cookstown 100 Preview

The 2016 KDM Hire Cookstown 100, has an entry list dominated by many of the fastest rising stars on the roads, add in international road race winners and exciting newcomers, your guaranteed top class action around the Orritor circuit.


Having been the dominant force in the superbike encounters at Tandragee, Dan Kneen goes into the KDM Hire Cookstown 100, full of confidence.

Piloting the rapidly improving Mar Train Racing YZF R1M Yamaha superbike, Dan has fond memories of Cookstown, having on his debut, won the feature grand final in 2014.


Photo by Rod Neill

Will he for the second time in two years clinch grand final victory? in my opinion he will start pre race favourite.

William Dunlop was in action at the Tandragee 100 on the MSS Colchester backed ZX10R Kawasaki, it’s still not fully known as to the machinery he will be piloting in the 1000cc races at Cookstown.

There is a strong possibility that he could be piloting the all new Ivan Curran/CD Racing YZF R1M Yamaha, if not he will be gaining more time on the MSS Colchester backed ZX10R Kawasaki.

Which ever machine he competes on, the reigning Irish road race superbike champion, will be a force to be reckoned with.

The same notion applies to Derek Sheils, grand final winner at the Mid Antrim 150.

Going into the weekends action in good form, Derek has the proven pace to clinch open and grand final victories.

Cookstown BE Racing team mate Malachi Mitchell Thomas although a newcomer to Cookstown, is tipped by many as a potential front runner.

Already this season Malachi has shown why many believe it won’t be long till he becomes an international road race winner. The 2015 senior Manx Grand Prix winner has dazzled at the Mid Antrim 150 and Tandragee 100, expect more world class displays at Cookstown.

BMW’s challenge is anticipated to be lead by Noel Williamson Racing’s Derek McGee. Recent fourth place finish in the senior open at Tandragee, was proof that he is gelling quickly with BMW Motorrad machinery.

A highly accomplished exponent of the Orritor circuit, the 2015 Irish road race super twins champion is another potential grand final winner.

Michael Sweeney, currently second in the 2016 Duke Road Race Rankings championship has enjoyed an excellent start to his 2016 roads campaign.

Competing on Martin Jones Racing backed ZX10R Kawasaki, the two time junior Manx Grand Prix winner, cannot be discounted from been in contention for at least series of top three finishes.

The Peoples Bike Team backed Seamus Elliott is also a potential top three finisher, Seamus in recent years, has been amongst the most improved competitors between the hedges.

Magic Bullet backed Davy Morgan, Rob Barber on the PRB Racing YZF R1M Yamaha, 2014 Duke Road Race Rankings champion James Cowton, Wayne Kirwan, Neil Kernohan, Paul Jordan, Kevin Fitzpatrick, John Walsh and Matthew Rees, all add additional entry to the starting field.

Adding a feel good factor to the entry is Gareth Keys on his own teams ZX10R Kawasaki, Gareth has battled back to fitness following a serious incident at Oliver’s Mount in 2015, it’s great to see him back in action.

World class quality to the starting grid is set to be boosted, by the return to Cookstown of two time TT winner Cameron Donald.

Having recently signed with Wilson Craig Racing for competition at TT 2016, the Australian is set to re open his pure roads association with the team which he enjoyed great success with in 2011, 2012 and 2013 at the weekend.


Supersport races always provide close competition, there’s every chance though at Cookstown, that we could see William Dunlop totally dominant on the ultra fast Ivan Curran/CD Racing YZF R6 Yamaha.

Regarded by many as the leading supersport rider on the roads, William continued his featured presence in the class at Tandragee last weekend, by winning an enthralling supersport encounter.

In my opinion he starts an extremely strong favourite for series of 600 victories, but there is many more than capable of finishing in front of him.

They include Mar Train Racing’s Dan Kneen, who is happy with the competitiveness and performance of the teams YZF R6 Yamaha.

It’s fair to say Malachi Mitchell Thomas has stunned many already this season. He instantly clicked with the Mid Antrim 150 and Tandragee 100, don’t at all be surprised if he is victorious in at least one of the supersport races at Cookstown.


Photo by Rod Neill

This is perhaps a big statement when talking about a newcomer, but that shows the level of talent, pace and ability that he has been showing in April.

2014 Duke Road Race Rankings champion James Cowton, has without a doubt one of the highest spec machines on the grid in the form of the Cowton Racing by Radcliffe’s CBR 600 Honda, which is an ex world supersport bike.

Having endured a testing start to his roads season at the Spring Cup National Road Races at Oliver’s Mount, James is determined to record stand out results a plenty.

He has the pedigree to in my opinion be battling for at least podium finishes, same notion applies to two time junior Manx Grand Prix winner Michael Sweeney, on the Tracblast backed YZF R6 Yamaha.

Cameron Donald and the Wilson Craig Racing CBR 600 Honda, could well prove the combination to beat, having not competed at a national meeting since 2011, will the two time TT winner, roll the clock back?

Rising stars Paul Jordan B&W Racing CBR 600 Honda and Logan Racing’s Neil Kernohan, both have the pace to cause a surprise or two.

Adding further quality to the entry is Michal Dokopuil, Matthew Rees Cookstown newcomer competing on MV Agusta machinery, Dean Campbell, Wayne Kirwan, Darryl Tweed, James Kelly, David Lumsden and Brad Vicars.

Super Twins:

Arguably one of the most difficult races to call at Cookstown, is the super twins race.

Irish road racing revelation Malachi Mitchell Thomas, despite been a newcomer, will start in my opinion as one of the pre race favourites.

Having run super twins king pin Ryan Farquhar close at Mid Antrim and Tandragee, Malachi has shown that he’s a natural in the class, dominated by ER6 Kawasaki’s.

Cookstown BE Racing team mate Derek Sheils, fresh from a great third place finish in the super twins race at the Tandragee 100, is a dark horse for race victory.

More known for his exploits on superbikes and superstockers, the 2013 Irish road race superbike champion, is a definite race winning contender.


Photo by Peter Leverton

James Cowton, super twins lap record holder around Cookstown, has the undoubted pace to be victorious on the Cowton Racing by Radcliffe’s ER6 Kawasaki.

Added potential top three finishers include Paul Jordan, Michael Sweeney, Seamus Elliott, Brad Vicars and Cookstown newcomer Rhys Hardisty.

Adding an international feel to the entry is Veronika Hankocyova and newcomer Australia’s Alex Pickett, on the Sammy Crossett Motorcycles backed CF Moto.

Round Up:

There is 19 races in total for the 2016 KDM Hire Cookstown 100, as joining the superbike, supersport and super twin races are 125, 250, 400, senior support, junior support and 250, 350 and 1000 classic competition.

Entries to watch on the two strokes include Joey’s Bar Racing duo Sam Wilson and Gary Dunlop, Logan Racing’s Neil Kernohan, Paul Jordan, Paul Robinson, Nigel Moore, Adam McLean and Malachi Mitchell Thomas scheduled to pilot Cookstown BE Racing RS 125 Honda.


Photo by Rod Neill

A forty strong entry for the 400 race, has attracted notable entries in the form of Michael Sweeney, David Howard, Seamus Elliott, Gavin Brown, Adrian Logue, Michal Dokoupil and arguably pre race favourite Alistair Haworth.

Classic specialists in action include Freddie Stewart, Philip Shaw, Allan Brew, Richard Ford, Gary Hutton and Barry Davidson.

The Cookstown 100, has played host to multiple top class battles over the years, expect many more at the weekend as many a rising star aims to put one over their considered more acclaimed counterparts.

Words by Stevie Rial

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