Kerry motorcycle mafia- part three/six

Motorcycle racing is set to return this weekend with an official but behind closed doors test session at Mondello Park

Kerry Motorsport News will preview the season by republishing a series of articles that were originally published in Road Racing Ireland magazine

SUPERSPORT PRO AND SUPERSPORT CUP

While not technically a Kerryman, Andrew Murphy can trace his family roots to Ballybunion, the home the ill-fated 2005 road race and he is serving his electrical apprenticeship in County capital of Tralee.

The son of former sidecar racing exponent, Martin, Murphy will return to the PCRS fold for the season ahead, a move he hopes will take him back to the top of the Supersport Pro class.

The 2017 Supersport Cup champion and 2019 Supersport Pro runner up ran his own self-prepared Triumph last season, highlights include a trio of second places during the September Masters meeting.

This year he returns to Yamaha power and with guidance from PCRS’s Phillip Case his target is reclaiming the Supersport Pro title he last held in 2019.

The Mountcollins, County Limerick-based rider started racing when he was 13years-old and won the former Aprillia 125 championship in his first full season. A few years living in Australia did not dampen his enthusiasm for the sport. When he returned to Ireland in 2016, he won his first 600cc races.

“My father raced in what was known as the pre-1997 class before he moved to sidecars so, I suppose, I was always around the paddock. He also raced an ex-Martin Finnegan Suzuki GSXR 1000, so we had some knowledge of the big bikes” he says, “I think a lot of the reason that the sport is growing down here is that the roads are so dangerous and busy. You could meet a tractor or anything, so lads moved to track days and then realise that getting into racing is not such a big step.”

The Supersport Cup has other signs of Kerry domination too. Tralee’s Robert O’Connell took two seconds and a third in his Supersport Cup races at the only Dunlop Master meeting to run last September.

“It is hard to explain. County Kerry is probably the furthest point away from any racetrack anywhere in the country, look at the effort it takes to get from here to Kirkistown,” says the Yamaha R6 rider.

“When you make that kind of an effort, you are not going up for the ride around, you are going up there to be competitive,”

Tralee to the County Down track is over 300 miles and driving a van trailer could take close to six hours.

O’Connell was second in the Masters standings to Jamie Collins before the season was brought to its premature conclusion. Interestingly, both Collins and O’Connell shared the same positions in the 2019 Production Twin Masters Championship.

Jack O’Grady, Dean’s brother, is also planning a full Supersport Cup campaign on his Yamaha R6.

Andy Murphy

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