Tuesday 18 September 2018

Wonderful weekend of racing

Jack Corry

The 73rd Skerries 100 will see a major change from its traditional Friday/Saturday, to Saturday/Sunday, when the iconic road race will take place on Saturday and Sunday 7-8th July, over the 2.92 mile course, just outside the town of Skerries. 

The event will also see two of the Loughshinny Motor Cycle Supporters Club's loyal sponsors Country Crest and Des D'arcy Motors join forces to sponsor the event. 

There will be a full race card of 11 races, that will include three Superbike races, with one, the Martin Finnegan Memorial Superbike race, having the largest prize money for a national road race in Ireland, and the winner will take home €5000. 

This year is the 10th Anniversary of the death of the brilliant Lusk rider Martin Finnegan, and a number of the old Supporters Club members, have combined with former sponsors, to come up with the €12000 prize fund. The will also be a parade of most of Martin's old race bikes, and these will be ridden by selected riders.

The entry list is the who's who of Irish road racing, with 18 times Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop the star attraction, where he will ride in the three Superbike races, as well as the 600 Supersport race. Michael is the current lap record holder at a speed of 111.582mph that he set in the Open race in 2016. 

Derek Sheils has been the top Superbike rider on the national road race scene for the past two seasons on the John Burrows Suzuki, and he is also the second fastest rider at Skerries, when he lapped the course in the Open race in 2017 at a speed of 111.004mph.

Derek will also have at his disposal the 'Peoples 600' that he has put on pole position at both Cookstown and Tandragee, and he dearly love to get his first win over his local course. 

William Dunlop has scored 15 wins at Skerries since 2005, and he is just two off the overall tally held by the great Ray McCullough and the legendary Joey Dunlop. William has been in a bit of a lull for the past two seasons, and this weekend he will hope to get back to form on the Temple Golf Club/Caffrey International Superbike and 600 Yamaha's.

Derek McGee and Micko Sweeney are just back from a very successful TT, and they have both been on top form in their respective classes for the past few seasons. Derek became the first Southern rider since the late Martin Finnegan in 2005 to step on a TT podium when he took the Ryan Farquhar's 650 Kawasaki to a fantastic second place in the Lightweight TT.

Derek totally dominated the inaugural Enniskillen Road Races last weekend, taking an amazing 5 wins in a day. Micko Sweeney finished off last season with two excellent wins on his 600 at the East Coast Festival, and while he had a mixed personal TT, he still lapped at his fastest ever in the Senior TT, finishing in a brilliant 12th place. He also took the Bill Keily sponsored 650 Kawasaki to his best ever finish in the lightweight TT in 7th place. We better not forget the classic finish in last year's 600 race at Skerries, when Derek McGee, beat Derek Sheils and Micko Sweeney, with only .6 of a second covering the top three.

Davy Todd arrived in Skerries last year for his first ever Irish road race, and he made a great impact, finishing in 4th place in that brilliant 600 race. Davy loved the craic of racing on tight closed public roads, and he basically raced at most of the national road races, with the highlight at Armoy, where he took two podium placing.

During the winter, John Burrows knew that he would only have the services of Derek Sheils for the National races on the Superbike, so he went about signing a new rider for the coming season.

Always with an eye for talent, John signed Davy to ride the Superstock alongside Derek in the big classes, and also the 600 Supersport and 650 Supertwin. What a find this has been for both John and road racing fans, and with the TT just finished, the 22 year old Todd really lit up this year's races, becoming the second fastest newcomer over the TT Mountain course, behind Peter Hickman at a speed of 128.379mph.

Andy Farrell is another of the top local rider and he will be looking to continue his good form from Tandragee, and he will ride in the 600 and Supertwin races, as well as the three Superbike races.

Another TT legend Dan Sayle is also a confirmed entry on his Moto 3 Honda, and the 8 times Sidecar TT winner, is looking forward to getting back as a solo rider, following a disappointing TT, by his high standards. Dan has had solo success over the TT Mountain course, when he won the Lightweight 250 Manx Grand Prix in 2008 and 2009.

There will be plenty of local interest in action over the two days, with Rush Barbour Vinnie Brennan returning to the roads after an absence of two years, and he will be joined in the Junior Support by Lusk rider Darren O'Rourke. Former Irish Champion David Howard will make his 2018 debut in the 400 class, and he will join Paul O'Rourke in the Supertwin class.

Sean Leonard will be in action in three classes, the 125, Junior and Senior Classic classes, and he will be joined in the Classic races by Ed. Manly. Roads close for practice on Saturday 7th July at 12noon, and on Sunday 8th July, they close at 8am, with the first race at 10. The Annual 'Classic Lap' will take place on Friday evening 6th July. Sign on will start in Skerries Mills from 5.30 pm and the lap will start at 7.30 pm.

There will be a bike show before the classic lap begins. People are invited to enter their bikes into the show, regardless of whether they will then ride in the lap. We will be awarding a prize to Best Classic Bike, Best Japanese Bike and Best Concourse Bike.

To enter the lap/show will cost €10 per motorcycle and proceeds from this will go to the MCI Medical Team to help with the purchase of a vital new piece of equipment, the LifePak 15.

Fingal Independent