Three Kerry motorcycle racers have placed entries for this weekend’s Cookstown 100, the opening round of the Northern Ireland Road Racing Championship.
Anthony O’Carroll, Darragh Crean and Stephen Walsh are all making the long trip to County Tyrone for the Friday and Saturday meeting.
O’Carroll will race in three different classes. He will race his 600cc Kawasaki in both the Junior and Senior support races and his 350cc Kawasaki in the SuperTwin class.
This is the Ballyduff man’s third visit to Cookstown and while he will start as one of the favourites for any of the two support races, he has his eye on a much bigger picture.
O’Carroll needs to finish four days of racing between here and the end of June to be granted his Isle of Man Mountain Course licence.
This is his final hurdle as he prepares for the Manx Grand Prix, the funs over the famed 37-mile TT course in August.
The timetable for this weekend has not yet been released and O’Carroll is hopeful that there may be racing on Friday and not just qualifying as that would then count as one of his four race days.
“My target is the Mountain Course,” he said. “But this is my third time in Cookstown, and the days of learning are over. I will be going for it.”
Darragh Crean will make his Cookstown debut. The Tralee man will race his own Aprilia in the SuperTwin class, against O’Carroll.
He is also hopeful of making his 600cc class debut in Tyrone this weekend. He has been signed by Italian team Faraldo Racing for the year ahead.
“I haven’t even seen the bike not to mind ride it,” he said. He will decide after Friday’s practice session if he is comfortable on the new bike or not.”
Photo of Anthony O’Carroll at the 2020 Cookstown 100 by Photo by John Burke Photography
Classic racer Stephen Walsh is the third Kerry rider to head north this weekend.
He will race his Honda CB 350 in the Junior Classic category this weekend.
The Ardfert man, helped by Ballymac’s Der Rahilly has done a lot of work to the bike over the off-season and is more than looking forward to this weekend’s races.
“My friend reckons I was one of the kids who got out of bed in the middle of the night on Christmas morning. He is right. It is like that only better with Cookstown and the start of the road racing season.,” he said.
“The jump at Black’s Farm is one of my favourite things in road racing. I can’t wait.
“Der Rahilly from Ballymac has given me a heap of help again over the off-season which I really appreciate. We had ignition problems here [in Cookstown] last year so I’m hoping we get a better run at it this year.”
All three racers expressed their condolences to the Breen family at the sad passing of rally driver Craig last week.
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