Spring Cup takes center stage for first road race of the year


Traditionally the first event held each year on the 2.43 mile Oliver’s Mount course in North Yorkshire, the race did not take place in 2018 when England’s only road racing venue fell silent as a result to security concerns following the abandoned Gold Cup meeting in September 2017..

Spectators were injured in two separate incidents during the flagship race four years ago and as a result, the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) refused to grant a racing license to the previous organizers – the Auto 66 Club – to host the Spring Cup and Cock ‘o the northern matches in 2018.

However, racing resumed at Oliver’s Mount in 2019 – although the Superbike class is replaced by classic Superbikes – hosted by the Two Four Three Racing Association.

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Lee Johnston at Oliver's Mount on his Yamaha Ashcourt Racing.

Lee Johnston at Oliver’s Mount on his Yamaha Ashcourt Racing.

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the Spring Cup last year, although the Barry Sheene Classic Festival and the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup races did take place.

With the continued impact of Covid-19 restrictions continuing this year, the Spring Cup has been postponed for a few weeks from May 8 to 9 until this weekend to allow spectators to pass the gates.

A bumper entrance was secured and a host of runners from Northern Ireland made the trip across the Irish Sea to take the opportunity for a road racing fix, with limited opportunities at home .

Every Irish national meeting has been canceled this year, except Armoy in July and the rescheduled Cookstown 100 in September, with the North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Southern 100 and Classic TT / Manx Grand Prix all canceled due of the coronavirus situation.

As such, there is a great sense of anticipation surrounding the Spring Cup reunion, where Isle of Man TT winners Dean Harrison and Lee Johnston lead.

Northern Irish rider Johnston, who broke his duck in the TT in 2019 with a victory in the Supersport category, has won the Gold Cup two consecutive years at the ‘Mount’ and will aim for more glory on his Ashcourt Racing. Yamaha.

He was pushed until last September by Senior TT winner Harrison and the duo are likely to take all the hits again.

Their opposition includes Davey Todd, who will be eager to make a good impression at his home event, where he has only raced once before in 2017.

Todd, arguably the best prospect in road racing, will line up with the Wilson Craig Honda, which he first tested last Monday in Kirkistown, County Down.

The Burrows Engineering / RK Racing team also made the trip to Scarborough with Paul Jordan and Mike Browne, who joined the Dungannon-based team in a new roster last year, replacing Derek Sheils and Tom Weeden.

Team boss John Burrows has chosen to stay with the two riders for 2021 after last year’s decimated schedule limited his new recruits to a lonely outing at the Cookstown 100.

With few road races taking place again this year, Burrows competed in the Scarborough events, as well as the Dunlop Masters Superbike and Ulster Superbike short laps to keep his team going.

“We’re a road racing team and we’re not really a short-circuit team – it’s not something we’ve really looked at over the past few years,” Burrows said.

“But this year we will be doing the Dunlop Masters at Mondello Park and whatever the events from Ulster to Kirkistown and Bishopscourt.

“Also, for the first time in a long time we’re going to be racing in Scarborough and it looks like Armoy will go ahead at the end of July and then we’ll have the Cookstown 100 in September.

“Considering all of that, that gives us the basis for a season and that should keep us busy enough if the races go as planned,” he added.

“I have a commitment this year to Paul Jordan and Mike Browne because last year was all but wiped out and I said we were going ahead and keeping things as they were for 2021.

“We don’t have a road racing championship to fight for, nor North West or TT, which are usually the team’s big goals every year, but I can’t really let these two guys in the game. cold and once i give a pledge then i stick to it.

The Spring Cup entry also includes McAdoo Racing’s Adam McLean and newcomer Darryl Tweed; leading English racer Jamie Coward; veteran Ian Lougher and promising talent Jim Hind; Regular Irish routes Neil Kernohan and Rob Hodson.

Practice and qualifying begins today, followed by the first races, with the Bob Smith Spring Cup flagship race taking place tomorrow on a busy schedule.

Oliver’s Mount will also host the Barry Sheene Classic reunion June 26-27, the inaugural Oliver’s Mount Festival July 31-August 1, and the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup (September 11-12).

Tickets can be purchased through the Duke Video website at www.dukevideo.com


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