The 2021 Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship will finally get the green light to start its season this weekend, with one of the strongest entry lists ever for the season opener.
The opening three races will take place on the Mondello Park International Track marking the first time the series has opened on the Kildare venue’s full circuit.
The Masters’ Superbike Championship remains the top series in Irish Short Circuit Racing, thanks to the quality and professionalism of its events and the standard of riders and machines competing in the series.
For 2021 the championship will run a reduced programme, due to the late start, but will still fit in five events between the end of June and the middle of October, with three races per event, making up a 15- race calendar.
The Superbike and Supersport classes remain as the pinnacle of the sport In Ireland and both classes have attracted large entries in both the Pro and Cup divisions. The Superbike Pro class looks like being the strongest it has been since the creation of the Masters in 2010.
Leading the Kerry charge will be former Supersport national champion Emmett O’Grady who has a new Honda Fireblade at his disposal for the season ahead.
More than fifteen riders will contest the class, backed up by an additional twenty-plus Superbike Cup riders.
O’ Grady’s brother Evan makes a return in the Superbike Cup class riding a Suzuki GSXR 1000 while John Griffin from Asdee will return with his BMW 1000RR.
Killarney’s Frank Doherty sat out last season but in 2019 he was very much to the front of the Superbike Cup championship. The Yamaha R1 rider finished second to class frontrunner Joe Grant two years ago and is ready for a return to action this weekend
The Supersport class is set for a revival with almost thirty bikes entered including Mountcollins’ Andrew Murphy.
The 2017 Supersport Cup champion 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 Supersport Cup has signs of Kerry domination too. Tralee’s Robert O’Connell took two seconds and a third in his Cup races at the only Dunlop Master meeting to run last September.
Ballyduff-based motorcycle racer Anthony O’Carroll is to take a two-way approach to his racing year this season.
His main focus will be the Dunlop Masters Irish national series which gets underway on this weekend.
He will use his usual Kawaski ZX 6R for the short circuit season but he has also struck a deal with Maynooth Cycles to ride their Suzuki SV 650 on two road racing events that will run in Northern Ireland later this summer.
The championship will also run races for Production Twins and Tralee’s Darragh Crean will start as one of the favourites for the class title on his Suzuki while Samantha Martin makes her championship debut, on a similar machine to Crean’s.
The Sidecar championship has Kerry interest too with Killarney-based Siobhan Ardner set for another season as passenger ON THE Medler Racing Suzuki LCR of Fergie Woodlock.
“The opening rounds of the 2021 Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship will run behind closed doors with no spectators allowed and the event will run in accordance with all current government guidelines regarding COVID-19,” explained championship promoter Fergus Brennan. “It is hoped that the situation in Ireland will improve sufficiently to allow spectators to return for the July event which would be a massive boost for a sport that has lost so many events over the past fifteen months.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Coyne begins his second season in the British Superbike Championship this weekend. He is stepping up to the National Superstock 600cc class after a season in the British Junior Championship. He will ride a new Kawasaki Ninja 636 in this weekend’s season-opener at Oulton Park.
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