Kerry motorcycle racers hopeful of getting back on track in July

Kerry motorcycle racers hopeful of getting back on track in July  

Kerry motorcycle racers are hoping the sport can resume in July.

This season should have been a record breaking season for Kerry riders with nearly ten local competitors committed to the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship.  

This weekend should have been the third of the seven triple-header race weekends that make up the 21 round national series which is run at Mondello Park in County Kildare.

Instead, the current Coronavirus crisis as decimated the calendar. Officials at the Kildare track are making provisions for events like track days and testing to return to the track next month and this will be followed by sporting events in July.

“There are many issues which need to be sorted out and the team at Mondello Park are working on these,” Dunlop Masters Superbike  Championship co-ordinator Fergus Brennan said. “As a contractor with Mondello I am not involved at the moment and won’t be until a start date is announced, at which point I will click back into action to prepare for the restart.”

Local racers are hopeful the scheduled July 25 and 26 meeting (the fifth of seven planned meetings) will get the go ahead but are still awaiting official confirmation from championship and track officials.

Killarney’s Frank Doherty on the grid at Mondello Park last season

Killarney racer Frank Doherty finished second in the Superbike Cup last season.

“It’s not official of course but they are talking about July,” said Doherty, “I hear the guy running the Masters wants to go ahead with the July round as it is in the calendar.”

Emmet O’Grady, one of the county’s most experienced racers is hoping the next phases of  reopening announcements by the government will allow for some sort of a return to racing in the summer.

“Mid-July I think,” he said. “When the 20k [travel restriction] is lifted.”

Ballyduff’s Anthony O’Carroll was planning to contest the full circuit-based national series at Mondello Park and was also considering a few road race outings when the restrictions were announced in March.

The Cookstown 100 in County Tyrone is the only Irish closed-road race left on the calendar.

The event was due to run in April. The organising club, Cookstown Town and District Motorcycle Club, has secured a September date but all other road events are now cancelled.

“Most of the road racing calendar is called off, all the main events are gone along with a lot of the national events called off also,” O’Carroll said. “I can’t see roads going ahead at all, they strongly rely on spectators to cover the costs. There is no word so far, anyway.

“The whole lot is up in the air regarding circuits. If It goes on much longer, I don’t think there will be championships as there won’t be enough rounds. There’s talks of trying to get the cars back on circuits as there is greater area for social distancing but apparently there is a lot more contact in the running of motorcycle events.”

Anthony O’Carroll was well set up for the season

Kerry’s youngest racer, Kevin Coyne, 18, was on target to enter the early rounds of the domestic series before heading to England and racing in the later rounds of the British Super Bike Championship, until the restrictions scuppered his plans.

Killarney’s Kevin Coyne

He is waiting for official announcements on both sides of the Irish Sea so he can get his season back on track.  

“We are monitoring England as well and if that opens up before Ireland we will head over there,” said the Killarney-based rider.

Versions of this article originally appeared in both The Kerryman and The Killarney Advertiser. Kerry Motorsport News is the motorsport content provider to both publications.

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