Road Racing Daily - May 2018

Road Racing Daily Dan Kneen who sadly passed away following an incident at the Isle Of Man TT - Photo by Mick Cooke


ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Dan Kneen, 30, from Onchan in the Isle of Man died this evening following injuries sustained during the Superbike qualifying session on the Isle of Man.
Dan had an accident at Churchtown on the first lap of the session and died at the scene of the incident.
Dan made his mountain course debut at the Manx Grand Prix in 2008 and won an unprecedented three races – the Junior, the Newcomers C and the Ultra Lightweight MGP Races.
He achieved his first TT podium in last year’s Superstock Race, finishing third in the Superstock TT Race. He has a fastest official lap of 130.347mph which he set in last year’s Superstock Race and recorded a lap of 132.258mph (17:06.994) in last night’s Superbike qualifying session.
ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Dan's partner Leanne, his family and his many friends in the road racing community and beyond.

William Dunlop withdraws from the 2018 Isle Of Man TT


William Dunlop will play no further part in this year’s Isle Of Man TT. 

The Ballymoney man, riding for Temple Golf Club Yamaha has decided to make the difficult decision to withdraw due to personal reasons. After discussions with team boss Tim Martin, the 32 year old decided to leave the island and head home and focus on hopefully coming back stronger later in the season. 

William Dunlop:

“This is a very difficult decision and not one I have taken lightly, I can only apologise to the team and all of our sponsors but I believe that continuing would be the wrong decision and would not give a true account of either myself or the team. I would like to thank Tim especially for how understanding and supportive he has been over the past few weeks, I obviously feel like I have let him and the team down but they have stood by me throughout. I am going to head home and take some time to recuperate before making a decision on when I will be back on the Temple Yamahas.”

Tim Martin:

“Obviously this is extremely disappointing for us as a team and for me personally as I have been looking forward to working with William at the TT for some time. There is no race in the world however where having 100% focus and commitment is more important so it is the correct decision in the end for William. Hopefully after a few weeks off he will come back stronger, we all know what a natural talent he is so having a fit and well William back to fight for wins at the Ulster Grand Prix is now our focus.”

Photo by RCphotos

Honda Racing ready to get TT campaign underway

The Honda Racing roads team is getting ready to launch its 2018 Isle of Man TT campaign as first Superbike practice takes place tonight around the 37.73-mile Mountain course.

Honda Racing’s duo Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston will be taking part in the Superbike, Superstock 1000 and Senior TT races aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. The Honda-men will also be riding for the Padgetts Honda team in the Supersport 600 class and Johnston will also ride for Team Mugen in the TT Zero race.

Coming into the TT the Honda squad is keen to continue its good form after Johnston scored a podium last time out at the North West 200. With good pace throughout race week, ‘The General’ finished fourth and third in both Superbike races aboard the Fireblade SP2.

With a host of positives collected from his return to racing at the North West, teammate Hutchinson will be looking to build and continue his good form at the 2018 TT races.

Honda has a long established history at the Isle of Man TT and remains the most successful manufacturer ever at the event, with the Fireblade holding the accolade as the most successful 1000cc machine with 23 TT victories. Honda is also once again official motorbike partner to the TT; and for the first time ever is the official car partner, with the Civic Type R.

Ian Hutchinson 4

We’re heading into the TT with a lot of positives behind us from the North West 200. We also had first practice on Saturday (26 May) with the Supersport machines, so we’ve had some track time ‪before tonight‬’s Superbike practice. We made a lot of progress in Northern Ireland with the set-up of the Fireblade and I’m sure that with practice this week we can continue building the package. I’m excited to get to Saturday for the first race, but in the meantime we’ll be focusing on practice and getting everything dialed in and ready for race day.

Lee Johnston 13

I came away from the NW200 really happy with the results and confident in the Fireblade. Both Superbike races we had strong pace and were able to fight at the front, we were so close to getting a podium in the first race and got third in the second Superbike race, so with the results from there I’m confident heading into first practice tonight. I’m looking forward to practice this week and ‪12.00pm on Saturday‬ when we’re lining up on Glencrutchery Road ready to start the Superbike race.

Road Racing Daily Peter Hickman


After a 25 minute delay to due to oil on the track, the Isle of Man TT got underway this evening under perfect conditions.

Choosing to give the Trooper Triumph Supersport the first run out, Peter was able to lay down some good first laps after the disappointing decision to exclude the bike at the North West 200.

Heading out for two laps on the Supersport, Peter was fastest through the Grandstand speed trap. Recording a 158.5mph on both. With his standing start lap an impressively fast 120.810 average and lap two 124.313.

Qualifying rules state riders must complete a minimum of five laps during practice week with a minimum of two laps on each bike, leaving Peter free to come in after his second lap to jump on the lightweight for Ryan Farquhar’s KMR/IEG Kawasaki team.

On his second lap aboard the Supertwin, Peter was sitting in P3 for the session with a 117.508 average and came into the pits to jump back on board the Triumph Trooper.

Finishing his session on a high with a fastest lap of 124.372 on the Supersport and sitting comfortably in the top ten of the Lightweights category.

Peter Hickman:

“Really happy with the feel of both bikes across that practice session. As usual, the Smith’s BMW team has given me a mega bike, and it feels great around the Isle of Man. This was my first time out on the Supertwin for Ryan Farquhar. I was pleased to record third fastest on my 2nd lap. Can’t wait for Monday’s session on the Superbike and the Superstock.”

Road Racing Daily Manx Radio TT Ehanced for 2018 Isle Of Man TT



Manx Radio TT launches onto the airwaves on Monday 28th May at 7:30am for TT 2018 and this year is bringing further enhancements for festival visitors and islanders alike.


The flagship, early morning chats shows which are broadcast daily at 8am live from the Sure Studio at the Grandstand will now be hosted by Chris Kinley and Christy DeHaven, chatting to top riders, newcomers, teams, sponsors and a variety of people involved in bring this unique motorcycling spectacle to life. 


This year for the first time these chats shows will be video streamed live via the Manx Radio TT Facebook page, available via the Manx Radio YouTube channel and available to watch again at the Portal, so viewers online around the globe can see their favourite TT stars chatting about their racing experiences.


Manx Radio TT has also invested in further improving reception for listeners to the commentary around the course with the additional of a further FM frequency in the Ramsey area. Alongside the island wide AM1368 coverage, Manx Radio TT will be available on 87.9 in Douglas and Ramsey and on 100.6FM in the Northwest of the island and of course available online further afield at where fans can listen to live commentary as well as follow live timing in the TT Live service. 


Manx Radio has worked closely with Sure Mobile to secure this new FM coverage for the Ramsey area and are thankful to them for their support.


Photo attached: Chris Kinley and Christy DeHaven who will be jointly hosting the morning chat shows.

Road Racing Daily Maria Costello - Photo by Mick Cooke


Maria Costello MBE is preparing for the Isle of Man TT with support from ‪‬. The Northampton racer will again be the only female competitor out of more than 70 entries for the four-lap Bennetts Lightweight TT at the world famous event., one of the largest trade printing companies in the UK and Ireland (part of the Bradley Group) are delighted to announce a new working relationship with Maria Costello MBE / Motorsport ( for her 2018 racing efforts.
Among other business portfolio interests across the printing industry and beyond, the Bradley Group also owns the Isle of Man based that is the official printing partner of the Isle of Man TT races, producing the official event programme and course corner signage.
This year, the Lightweight TT race has attracted its strongest ever entry with BSB star and 2018 SuperTwin NW200 winner Martin Jessopp hoping to improve on his second and third places achieved over the past two years. While Costello will also be up against previous class winners Michael Rutter and Ivan Lintin, as well as Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Ian Hutchinson and Gary Johnson respectively alongside other eye-catching names.
Peter Bradley, Managing Director at ‪‬ said: “ Maria is someone we have admired for some time. When Maria reached out to us a few weeks back, we were delighted to step in and support her 2018 campaign that will see her compete across a number of different platforms on both two and four wheels - even with three, on the sidecar, thrown in for good measure!”
“Maria is a truly inspirational individual and we have the utmost respect for her racing and charity exploits and subsequently see her as an ideal brand ambassador for our ‪‬ brand. This works well with our current production factories based in Belfast and Liverpool, geographies that too reflect her racing efforts. We wish Maria a fast, safe and successful 2018 season!”
This development further extends racing interests with current activity alongside the likes of and respectively.
Costello added: “It’s impossible to go racing at this level without the kind of support I’m receiving from ‪‬. So I’m delighted to be working with them this season, especially as they have connections here on the Isle of Man and in Ireland where I do most of my racing.”
The Isle of Man TT ‪begins on Saturday May 26‬ and runs ‪until Friday June 8.‬
For all of the latest news on Costello, including sponsorship opportunities, track days for women and other events, please visit her website at
For more information, please contact Richard McCarthy, Marketing Manager at ‪‬ via ‪‬ / ‪+44 (0)28 9032 3552‬. 

For all of the latest news on Costello, including sponsorship opportunities, track days for women and other events, please visit her website at

Road Racing Daily 2018 Isle Of Man TT - Sidecar Preview



The fifty entries that have been accepted for the two three lap Sidecar TT Races at this year’s Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy include five former race winners in the field who have no less than 27 victories between them.

The high quality field includes fourteen teams that have already lapped the Mountain Course at more than 110mph and although there are only seeded drivers, the top thirty have all lapped at more than 105mph.

Ben and Tom Birchall will again line up at number one and having taken a double victory last year, as well as improving upon their own outright lap record, they will start as race favourites. The Nottinghamshire brothers now have six wins in total, including the last three in succession, and will be confident they can add to their tally of wins.

Dave Molyneux and Dan Sayle, the most successful driver and passenger in TT history, set off ten seconds behind them. With 17 and eight wins respectively, the Manx duo have an outstanding record and will be keen to get back onto the top step after just one podium finish in the last two years, with Molyneux’s last victory in 2014.

The evergreen John Holden, who again lines up on the Silicone Engineering-backed outfit with Lee Cain in the chair, goes at number three. Competing together for the first time in 2016, the pair secured a brace of seconds with Holden having now finished on the podium in the last eight races. A winner in 2011 and 2016, the Blackburn driver will be aiming to take win number three.

Alan Founds who finished third in 2016 and fourth twelve months ago, moves up the order to number four. Backed once more by former TT driver Brian Gray, the Cheshire runner lapped at an impressive 115.110mph last year and continues with Jake Lowther in the passenger’s chair. The duo are more than capable of getting on the rostrum - at least - this time around.

Multiple World Champion Tim Reeves is fifth on the grid. The Kent driver, who will again be partnered by Mark Wilkes, who made his debut last year, only has one TT win to his name to date - winning the opening race of 2013. 

The second Founds brother - Peter who joined the 114mph Club in 2017 becoming the ninth fastest driver of all time in the process, will follow Reeves down Glencrutchery Road. With Jevan Walmsley on board for a third successive year, they will be hoping to repeat their podium finish of 2015.

Local driver Karl Bennett takes the number seven plate having taken two top ten finishes a year ago - the best of which was fifth. He continues with Frenchman Maxime Vasseur in the chair with the father and son duo of Steve and Matty Ramsden next to set off down Glencrutchery Road.

Gary Bryan, returning after a year’s absence, goes at number nine.   The Lincolnshire driver had no less than eleven top eight finishes between 2010 and 2016 and with Phil Hyde on board, will again feature heavily towards the top of the leaderboard.

Conrad Harrison is the last of the seeded riders at number ten. The Bradford driver won the opening race of 2014. He took a strong third place last year, after a disappointing 2016, and with ten podiums to his name, both he and Andy Winkle have a great chance of adding to that tally.

The rest of the field will secure their starting positions during qualifying but among them are Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Milligan, Lewis Blackstock/Lewis Rosney, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers, Gary Knight/Daniel Evanson, Gregory Lambert/Julie Canipa and Gordon Shand/Frank Claeys.

France’s Estelle Leblond/Melanie Farnier, the fastest female driver ever, Mike Roscher/Ben Hughes and Michael Grabmuller/Sebastien Lavorel lead the overseas challenge while Gary Horspole, a podium finisher in 1998, 2000 and 2003, returns for the first time since 2007. He has the experienced Robert Biggs in the chair.

Newcomers include Michael Jackson who teams up with Harry Payne and French rider Paul Leglise while there are also four passengers who will be tackling the TT Mountain Course for the first time.


Road Racing Daily Daley Mathison signs with Halsall Racing for 2018 Isle Of Man TT



The Halsall Racing team will have a presence at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy after stepping in to offer road racer Daley Mathison a bike.


The Stockton-based rider will pilot the squad’s Yamaha R6 in the two Monster Energy Supersport TT races at this year’s event, after team owner Martin Halsall came forward to help Daley out.

Mathison’s season was left in doubt after he parted company with Jackson Racing last month, and he will now run his BMW Superbike and Superstock bikes himself.


But he will also now line up on Halsall’s 600, which was initially purchased for William Dunlop last year. 


Teenager Joe Francis went on to race it in the Dickies British Supersport Championship last season, and after a crash at Cadwell Park the machine was rebuilt almost from scratch and has only been raced once.


Now, the Bolton-based entrepreneur has decided to let Mathison race it at this year’s TT.


“I’ve known Daley for a while and he’s a great lad,” he said. “When I found out he was in a bit of a predicament with regards to the TT, I offered him our R6.


“I’ve always been a huge road racing fan and we’ve been keen to get involved for a few years, so it was the perfect opportunity for us.


“The bike was rebuilt from scratch with the best parts available and it’s just been sitting around unused. Bearing in mind we bought it for William to race on the roads last year, I think putting Daley on it now is perfect. We know he will give it everything he has and we’re looking forward to seeing how he gets on over the fortnight.”


Photo by Gary Howlett Of @GTHPicSnaps

Road Racing Daily Daniel Mettam - Photo by Mick Cooke



Daniel Mettam has announced that he has parted company with McKinstry Racing and will work towards securing another ride for the remainder of the season. 


Hailing from Glen Eden in New Zealand, Mettam made a instant impact in the national road racing scene when he won the Supersport B race at Cookstown last month. He also managed a podium in a wet-stricken supertwin race further underlining his roads pedigree. 


The news comes as somewhat of a shock so soon after the North West 200. In a statement released by Daniel Mettam, the rider had this to say. 


Daniel Mettam:


“After last weeks north west 200 I have left the Mckinstry racing team which I was racing here for in Ireland. Due to circumstances I can't talk about and a few safety related situations I have decided it is best for me to not carry on with the team. This is all new for me as in my 9 years of road racing where ever I have been I have never had a falling out or problems with a team. I am currently working on something else to keep me going. I wish Billy and his team all the best for the future 


Cheers #34”

Road Racing Daily Michael Dunlop - Photo by Mick Cooke


Michael Dunlop opened his international podium account with Tyco BMW at the North West 200 in the feature Superbike race, with an impressive second place aboard the team’s S1000RR.

Having signed for Hector and Philip Neill’s official BMW Motorrad team late in the day to ride their Superbike, the 15-time Isle of Man TT winner only had three short tests and a few laps at a national road race, to prepare for battle with a number of British Superbike Championship regulars on the north coast.

But tenacious as ever and despite early event set-up issues and a tyre problem on race day, the Ballymoney ace was able to record a best lap time of 4min 23.105 / 122.734mph, just 0.2sec down on the personal best of race winner Glenn Irwin aboard his regular British Championship factory ride.

A winner by design, Dunlop was tangibly disappointed afterwards, stating: 

“I hold my hand up, I think I could have been a lot closer to contest the win only for tyre problems. These issues forced me to run in deep a few times, which upsets the rhythm and ruins the lap and stopped me riding the Tyco BMW as hard as I know I can. My last lap was about ten seconds slower than my fastest lap, so I think that explains it without having to go into too much detail.

In saying that, for all the time we’ve been on the bike, I have to say I’m happy with the package and working with the TAS boys. Time was against us, but we knew that coming here. The TT is up next and if anything it’s given us valuable information for going there. Second place is not a win, but we will hopefully correct that pretty soon.”

Team Manager Philip Neill said: 

“To come here with the amount of testing and set-up time that we had, I have to be honest and say it’s a great result and the end product is very encouraging. It has taken some time to get Michael comfortable on the bike, but we knew that would be the case as Michael’s style is a lot different to what we have been used to in the past. After a few niggly problems to start with, we have now found a set-up that he’s comfortable with, it’s just disappointing that other problems outside both our control hampered his chances of challenging for the win. Taking those circumstances into account, for me, the result was superb.”

Road Racing Daily Duke Road Race Rankings Update


There are no less than 13 new entries into the top 40 in the Duke Road Race Rankings 2018 after the North West 200 - the first of the International road races of the season, with Alastair Seeley taking the highest place, slipping into third.

Current Rankings Champion Dean Harrison slots into sixth, with Honda 'works' rider Lee Johnston filling seventh spot.

Veteran Jeremy McWilliams shoots straight into the top 20 after his brace of podiums in the Supertwin races. 

Derek McGee and Adam McLean maintain the top two spots despite both riders having a disappointing North West 200 by their own high standards.

Road Racing Daily Maria Costello at the 2018 North West 200 - Photo by Mick Cooke




Maria Costello MBE has recorded two of her fastest ever Supertwin laps as she warms up for Saturday’s Vauxhall International Northwest 200.  


Riding her NGK Spark Plugs Kawasaki, Costello made a great start in Thursday evening’s race, despite starting from the back of the grid, and clocked five minutes 15.692 seconds for the first lap of the highly competitive four-lap race and went over half a second faster on the second lap.


Her new personal best lap times were more impressive as a mechanical fault had caused her to sit out the entire qualifying session that morning, resulting in the poor starting position.

But it was further problems that brought her race to an abrupt end when the bike developed fuelling issues and she was forced to retire at Ballysally roundabout on the final lap.


Costello had been in position for a potential high-place finish in a race eventually won by Martin Jessopp, who took his third North West 200 title late by edging out Jeremy McWilliams and long time race leader Joey Thompson.


She said: 


“Obviously I’m disappointed at the way my race finished, but there were plenty of positives to take from those laps I completed in the race and I’m looking forward to having another chance to improve yet again on Saturday.”


As well as racing, Costello, who met Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley during practice on Thursday, was the keynote speaker at a breakfast event hosted by Ulster University and also co-presented the ‘Miss Northwest 200’ competition on Tuesday evening alongside Adrian Logan.


A smiling Costello added: 


“It’s always great to be involved in the extra activities at the NW200 and give something back to the sport and it’s fans. I was really nervous about co-presenting on stage, but overwhelmed with the positive feedback, so it looks like I’ll be back working with Logie again next year.”


Maria now turns her attention to Saturday’s race, where she will again be starting from the back of the grid, but will be aiming to secure her first International road race result of 2018.


For all of the latest news on Costello, including sponsorship opportunities, track days for women and other events, please visit her website at:


Photo: Road Racing Daily

Road Racing Daily Team ILR’s Joey Thompson - Photo by Mick Cooke



Rumour: A currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth. 

Team ILR and Ian Lougher wish to dispel the comments made, and clarify a few points, in relation to the legality and cost of the Paton S1R twin machine following Joey Thompson's brilliant and stunning ride in ‪Thursday evening‬'s North-West 200 Supertwin race. 

The comments surrounding the bike are not only an attack on the team, Joey Thompson and our valued sponsors, but also on the historical and distinguished Paton name itself. 

Team ILR is one of the most respected race teams in the paddock, whether it be at British Superbikes, a road race, or any event for that matter.

The team has always acted with professionalism and integrity and would never, and have never, sought to gain an unfair advantage in any race they have come to the startline for. 

It's a team ethos we are very proud of and one that our team owner-manager Ian Lougher has carried into the team from his own distinguished racing career.

Ian Lougher: 

"Joey rode a great race at such a young age in only his second visit to the North West, dicing with much more experienced riders and leading for much of the time. 

But as always when a young and new face arrives amongst the old guard there is always a little resentment. 

There were some comments made by one of the other riders on the rostrum that the Paton "wasn't a proper twin machine." 

Also there were comments made that "the machine costs £75,000 and if any one of the other riders were on this bike then they would have cleared off." 

Firstly the S1R is a fully homologated machine and produced in Italy by the long established and well respected Paton company. 

To be homologated they have had to produce a certain amount of bikes as a road machine, they achieved this in 2014, once they did this they produced a tuned engined version of the bike and raced it at the Isle of Man several times before finally winning the TT race with Michael Rutter in 2017. 

As far as the cost of the bike is concerned, anyone can order and buy one for £35,000. 
This sounds a lot of money, but bearing in mind that most of the top bikes in this class are already costing this sort of money and some of them have cost more. 

We hope this clears up these matters, and wish Joey and everyone racing at the NW200 a safe and enjoyable days racing on Saturday."  

Moto Paton SC-Project:
"Our bike, tuned for racing, is on sale at 35.000GBP, as everybody can see on Paton Official Website. 

Should the organiser ask for technical inspection, Moto Paton/SC-Project company will be very happy to be given the chance to show everybody that our bike performance superiority is the result of our technicians skill and the excellent job made at Moto Paton through the year."

Road Racing Daily Ian Hutchinson - Photo by Mick Cooke

Solid start for Honda Racing at the North West 200

The Honda Racing team has got its 2018 road racing campaign off to a solid start as the International North West 200 roared into life this week. The final Superbike session took place this afternoon with Honda’s duo Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston qualifying tenth and 13th aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, ahead of Saturday’s opening seven-lap Superbike race.

With near-perfect conditions for the final qualifying session at the 8.9-mile circuit, Johnston rounded off the top-ten, 4.676s from pole, despite suffering a technical issue during the session.

Meanwhile teammate Hutchinson has been getting to grips with the CBR at ‘The Triangle’. Working through various areas with the set-up of the machine and making progress in each session the ‘Bingley Bullet’ qualified 13th, with a lap time of 4:31.200.

Ian Hutchinson:

“We’ve gone out in each session and we’re chipping away really, we’ve got some work to do ahead of the races on Saturday, but it’s all about bike time for me. We’ve been working on various settings with the Fireblade and we are making progress. I’m looking forward to both Superbike races on Saturday and seeing what we can do.”

Lee Johnston:

“Practice so far has gone well for us this week; we had a little issue during the session, but ended up tenth, where we’ll start the race ‪from on Saturday‬. I’m pleased with the progress we’re making with the Fireblade here, today has been great with the weather so we’ve been able to get all sessions and races in. Race day is always different and I know the team will be working hard on the set-up to get us away on Saturday, I’m looking forward to both races and can’t wait to get going.”

Jonny Twelvetrees:

“We’re making progress here at the North West 200; both Lee and Ian are chipping away. Today we’ve been blessed with great weather, which always helps and both riders have had races this afternoon so they’re adding to their track time. Throughout all session the lads have been improving their lap times, we have a few things to work towards for the races on Saturday now, but I think overall we’re in a good position to go racing.”

The race schedule for ‪Saturday 19 May‬ is below, with roads closing ‪at 0915 BST‬.

Supersport race (6laps)
Superbike race (7 laps)
Supertwin race (4 laps)
Superstock race (6 laps)
Superbike race 2 (7 laps)


Ian Hutchinson will ride a Honda CBR600RR for the team in the two Monster Energy Supersport TT Races at the 2018 Isle of Man TT.

Hutchinson won the two Supersport Races at both the 2015 and 2016 TT meetings and to date has won eight Supersport TT Races since his maiden victory in 2007. He has a fastest 600 lap of 128,259 which he achieved in 2016.

The 16 time TT winner will ride the Padgett’s machine alongside Honda Racing Fireblades in the Superbike and Superstock events. It will be the first time the 38 year old has ridden with Clive Padgett’s squad since winning five TTs in 2010 with the Batley outfit.

“Originally I had planned to ride with the Honda Racing team in all three races but because I didn’t know until just two weeks ago that I would be able to race those plans changed.” Hutchinson explained.

“Clive’s circumstances had also changed with Bruce Anstey not riding this year so we were able to get the deal sorted.”

Padgett explained that Anstey, who is locked in a battle with cancer, has given his blessing to Hutchy riding his bike.

“I rang Bruce and asked him if he was OK with Ian riding the bike and he had no problem with it at all.” he said.

Conor Cummins will ride in all three classes for Padgetts at the TT and North West 200 and Lee Johnston, Hutchinson’s Honda Racing teammate, will also campaign a Padgett’s CBR in the Supersport races at the TT Races as well as this week’s North West 200.

Road Racing Daily Steve Mercer photo credit:




Steve Mercer will line up in the colours of Jackson Racing for the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, having secured a late deal with the Preston-based team.


The Kent rider had been testing with the official Honda Racing team and was ready to deputise for Ian Hutchinson, but with the Bingley rider having declared his fitness last week, Mercer will now ride a Honda Fireblade SP2 for Jackson Racing in the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock and PokerStars SeniorTT Races.


The move sees him reunited with the team he’s enjoyed great success with having ridden for them in 2011, 2012 and 2016, the latter seeing him have his best ever year around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course when also riding Honda machinery.


Mercer equalled his best ever result with eighth in the opening Monster Energy Supersport Race and backed this up with tenth in the RL360 Superstock Race, 11th in the second Monster Energy Supersport encounter and 12th in the RST Superbike Race.


In addition, the now 36-year-old posted personal best laps on all of the machines including a lap of 129.323mph in the Superbike class, which makes him the 22nd fastest rider of all time, and 124.392mph on the Honda CBR600RR.


Since making his debut in 2009, Mercer has racked up no less than 16 top twenty finishes, which includes nine in the top twelve, and has won 11 silver and 10 bronze replicas in that nine year period.


As well as Mercer, Jackson Racing will field Manxman Dan Kneen and Craig Neve on Honda CBR600RR’s in the two Monster Energy Supersport races at the TT with Lincolnshire’s Neve also riding a BMW S1000RR in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT races.


Steve Mercer:


“It’s certainly been a busy few weeks and I’m delighted to be back with the Jackson Racing team as I’ve really enjoyed riding for them in the past. My best results, whether on the roads, short circuits or in World Endurance have always been on Hondas and with all the work that’s gone on recently, I will be on one of the best SP2’s available. I was incredibly grateful to get the call from Honda Racing to fill in for Hutchy at the tests at Castle Combe and Cadwell Park and it really helped get my confidence back.”


“I was happy to be on stand-by and would have been ready to race if Ian wasn’t ready but, equally, having done a lot of work on the bike and got my hunger back for the TT, I didn’t want to be on the sidelines so I’m very thankful to all concerned for putting the deal together. Alan and Andy (Jackson) are like family to me and Alan’s always been on hand with advice over the years and they always put out great bikes. Like I say, my confidence is back and I’m itching to get going.”


Alan Jackson, Team Manager:


“Unfortunately, we parted company with Daley Mathison a few weeks ago but we were keen to maintain a strong presence in the 1000cc races at the Isle of Man and we’re delighted to welcome Steve back to the team. We’ve worked really well together in the past and enjoyed some great results, particularly in 2016 when he finished in the top twelve in four races at the TT and recorded a whole host of personal best laps.”


“We both know how each other work and he’s been getting plenty of mileage in testing Hutchy’s Honda’s as well as at the Le Mans 24-Hour World Endurance round so he’ll be ready and raring to go come the last week of May. Jackson Racing and all of the team’s sponsors have worked hard to put the deal together and with Steve joining Dan and Craig, we feel that we’ve got a really strong line-up with all three riders capable of making a major impression at TT2018.”

Road Racing Daily Josh Brookes to ride for McAms Yamaha at TT 2018




McAMS Yamaha look to add to their already impressive TT success story by entering star rider Josh Brookes into the iconic event on specially prepared YZF-R6 and YZF-R1 machines for the Isle of Man TT Supersport and Superstock races.


2015 British Superbike Champion Brookes is one of the highest profile short circuit riders to take on the legendary 37.73 mile Mountain course, having logged a personal best of 2013, setting the fastest ever Newcomer lap of a 127.726mph.


The McAMS Yamaha squad are no stranger to Mona’s Isle having taken four Supersport TT wins with Ian Hutchinson on their high revving Yamaha YZF-R6 machinery. This season the team have added Superstock experience running a YZF-R1 in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 series, which runs within the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.


The team have built two all new Supersport and Superstock machines for the event, developed for high speed, stability and durability over this gruelling event.


Josh Brookes explained; “I’m obviously keen to ride as many classes as possible, to test myself on different machinery and just as importantly to continue to build up my Island knowledge, which you can only do with extended track time.

It took a while to come together but I’m really happy to be riding a YZF-R6 and YZF-R1 in team colours, the Supersport bike especially has been really strong previously. Ideally we’ll get good weather during practice week and get used to these two very different bikes.”


Team Manager Grant Bunting summed up; “Josh was really keen and for Monster it’s a really important global event so we’re throwing everything at building a top-spec machine for each class.


We’ve obviously had great success in the Supersport class so we’re looking forward to help Josh with his ongoing TT progression.”

Road Racing Daily Michael Dunlop


With the Isle Of Man TT just a few weeks away, the starting list for the superbike race has been revealed. 

Conor Cummins will lead the pack as he heads off on his Padgett’s Racing Honda CBR1000RR. 

John McGuinness is a confirmed non-starter for the Norton team but Ian Hutchinson is included at number 4. The Bingley Bullet has had the external fixator removed from the leg he damaged during last year’s Senior TT, but it remains to be seen just how well he will fair over a 6 lap TT race. 

Michael Dunlop starts at number 6 and perhaps his closest rival, Peter Hickman, will start at 10. 

1: Conor Cummins
2: James Hillier 
3: Michael Rutter
4: Ian Hutchinson 
5: Dean Harrison 
6: Michael Dunlop
7: Gary Johnson
8: Dan Kneen 
9: David Johnson
10: Peter Hickman 
11: Josh Brookes 
12: Martin Jessopp
13: Lee Johnston
14: William Dunlop
15: Derek Sheils
16: Jamie Coward
17: Phil Crowe
18: Steve Mercer TBC

Road Racing Daily Derek McGee at the Tandragee 100 - Photo by Mick Cooke




After two completed rounds of the Duke Road Race Rankings championship, Tandragee Man Of The Meeting, Derek McGee sits at the top of the table ahead of the talented Adam McLean. McGee is now 57 points clear of McLean following his stand out performances yesterday. 


Derek Sheils slots into third spot moving up three places from the opening round at Cookstown, the Cookstown Burrows Engineering rider having won a dramatic Open Race yesterday morning at Tandragee. 


135 riders have now scored points, 17 of whom have entered the championship after the most recent round at Tandragee. 


Dan Kneen slots into the top 5 in 5th with double podium scorer Stephen Morrison in an impressive Tenth place. Wayne Sheehan is up there in 8th spot. 


The ever consistent Michael Sweeney moves into the top ten from 11th place. The Irishman is now 7th. Tandragee Lightweight winner Darryl Tweed climbs from 20th in the table to an impressive 9th. 


Michael and William Dunlop are now 11th and 12th respectively. 


The first of the International Road Races of 2018 is the next round of the Duke Rankings, the North West 200 on Thursday and Saturday 17th & 19th May, with round four the Gustav Havel Road Races in the Czech Republic also taking place on Saturday and Sunday 19th & 20th May.


Full details of the Duke Road Race Rankings can be found on Facebook: 



Road Racing Daily Dan Kneen Photo by Mick Cooke


The North Armagh club played host yesterday to some truly spectacular road racing as the finest exponents of the sport went wheel-to-wheel around the circuit under blistering sunshine and in view of bumper crowds around the course. 

The Open Race was first to get underway and provided spectators with a thrilling two-way tussle for the lead between Derek McGee and Derek Sheils. With the lead swapping and a threatening Dan Kneen stalking the leading duo, it was impossible to say how this race would play out. By the last lap McGee had edged out the slightest of leads but overshot the final corner and was visibly upset as he saw a sure victory turn to a third place in a matter of seconds. 

It was Derek Sheils who kept things steady and ultimately took the win for the Cookstown Burrows Engineering Suzuki Team. Tyco BMW star Dan Kneen was in second. It’s fair to say that mistake by McGee absolutely focused the ‘Mullingar Missile’ as he was on a charge for the rest of the day. 

The Supersport race was utterly dominated by B&W Racing’s Derek McGee who led the race from start to finish, ultimately crossing the line over 6 seconds ahead of next placed rider, McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam McLean. William Dunlop was back in third place. McGee pulled a characteristically typical wheelie to treat the huge crowd sat in the grandstand at the finish line. The 2017 Irish Supersport champion looks set to have another bumper season in the Supersport class. Pole sitter Derek Sheils was placed fifth. 

When the Supertwin race got underway it was expected that Derek McGee and Adam McLean would be fighting for the win and that’s exactly how it went. KMR backed McGee was followed all the way by Roy Hanna Motors rider McLean. McGee crossed the finish line less than a second ahead of McLean. Davey Todd, riding for Cookstown BE had looked set for a stunning podium finish but the Englishman pulled out at the end of Cooley Hill. When the race ended it was Darren Cooper who had grabbed the final podium position. 

McGee didn’t make it out for the 125/Moto3 race and as it got underway it was Adam McLean who, by the time he had reached Cooley Hill, had a commanding lead. Sadly for McLean he was to retire shortly after which left Paul Robinson with a chance for victory as he was six seconds ahead of Joe Loughlin. Loughlin however had other ideas and within half a lap the gap was halved. Ultimately Robinson won by just a few tenths of a second. Nigel Moore was in third spot. 

As the sun was baking the crowds the Superbikes were rolled out to begin the Around-A-Pound Tandragee 100 in what turned out to be the race of the day. 

Derek Sheils, Derek McGee, Michael Sweeney and Dan Kneen were locked in a four-way fight for the lead throughout. 

Kneen didn’t have the best of starts and was back in fourth place at one point but kept chipping away as the lead changed hands in front.

Sheils lost the lead to McGee on lap 4 and Kneen was now ahead of Sweeney. By the penultimate lap Kneen had passed Sheils and only McGee stood in front of him claiming a triple grand final crown at Tandragee. 

McGee was using all of his road racing skills to do his best to maintain the lead but Kneen found a way through and won by 0.4 seconds. 

Kneen, on his way to victory also smashed the outright lap record with a time of 2:55:11s. This will no doubt fill the Manx rider with confidence ahead of the international season beginning. 

William Dunlop and Davey Todd crashed after a coming together at Bell’s that ultimately handed McAdoo rider Adam McLean fifth spot.

Darryl Tweed won a resounding victory in the Junior Support ahead of a very popular second place for Stephen Morrison. Vic Allan was in third place. 

Classic honours went to Brian Mateer in the 250 class, Barry Davidson in the 350 class and Dean Stimpson in the 500 class. Trevor Stewart brought the only 1000 Classic home. 

Michael Browne was utterly dominant in the Senior Support Race finishing 27 seconds ahead of Wayne Sheehan with William Hara in third. 

Gareth Keys won the forgotten era class and set a new lap record on his way to victory. 

Junior support spoils went to Wayne Sheehan in first place, Barry Sheehan in second, and Stephen Morrison in third. 

A huge thanks must go to the North Armagh Club, Anne Forsythe and her team, marshals, medics and all the volunteers who made the event possible. 

Thoughts to the riders who were injured. Let’s hope they’re on the mend soon. 

Gary Dunlop at the Southern 100 - Photo by RC Photos


With the Country Crest / Des D’Arcy Skerries 100 Road Races and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Southern 100 International Road Races being held over six consecutive days, Saturday and Sunday 7th & 8th July and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th July, riders who are wanting to compete at both events have been contacting both race organisers, the Loughshinny Supporters Club and Southern 100 Racing regarding travel arrangements from the Island of Ireland.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have three sailings from Ireland over the period of the 8th – 10th July as follows:

Sunday 8th July: Belfast 02:00 - Douglas 06:45

Sunday 8th July: Dublin 11:15 - Douglas 14:10

Tuesday 10th July: Belfast 10:45 - Douglas 13:30

Regulations for the Southern 100 International Road Races allow riders who have been racing at the Skerries 100 Road Races and have raced on the Colas Billown Course previously to arrive on the Tuesday afternoon and practice to qualify on the Tuesday evening.

However, Newcomers to the Southern 100 must be on the Isle of Man to practice on the Monday evening, 9th July.

Loughshinny Official Wayne Hall said: 

‘Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club would like to thank George Peach and Southern 100 Racing for working with us on this matter. We are delighted that a solution could be found, which will allow most riders to compete at both Skerries 100 and the Southern 100 if they wish to do so. We would like to wish Southern 100 Racing every success with their event this year.’

Full information on both the Skerries 100 Road Races and the Southern 100 International Road Races can be found on their respective official websites: & 

Full information on sailings to and from the Isle of Man via the IOM Steam Packet Company website:

Photo by RCphotos Jeremy McWilliams Photo by Mick Cooke


Former Grand Prix racer Jeremy McWilliams is making a sensational return to this year’s North West 200 with Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Team. 

The 54 year old will ride a Kawasaki ER6, a machine which brought him success around the world famous triangular circuit in 2013 and 2015. 

Farquhar’s machines are always expertly prepared and with the pedigree McWilliams brings to the class, it could once more prove to be a dream partnership when the event kicks off on the 13th-19th May. 
Jeremy McWilliams:

“I would never take part in any race if I didn’t think I could win. Standing on the North West podium has been such a highlight of my career and I still think I can do it again. But with riders like Martin Jessopp, James Cowton, Adam McLean, Derek McGee and Dan Cooper in the field riding as hard as they do I know I will be up against it.”

Ryan Farquhar:

“The Supertwins class is as tough a race win as any. We have taken a big step forward with our bikes this year, making them more powerful and lighter. But we won’t know what we are up against until we get to the North West.”

Www.Roadracingdaily.Com Forest Dunn at the 2018 Tandragee 100. Photo by Mick Cooke



The 58th Tandragee 100 roars into action this weekend and with a list of top class entries it promises to a bumper weekend of road racing at the 5.3 mile County Armagh circuit. 

Dan Kneen will be making his 2018 Irish roads bow at Tandragee as the Manx rider is set to compete for local outfit Tyco BMW. Kneen, a past winner at Tandragee, last competed at the event back in 2016 when riding for Mar-Train Yamaha. This time around he will have a BMW S1000RR to do battle on. 

Cookstown Burrows Engineering Suzuki rider Derek Sheils will no doubt fancy his chances having claimed victory in the superbike race at Tandragee in 2017. Coming off the back of a win last weekend at Cookstown, many will see the Irishman as a strong favourite for honours when racing gets underway. 

McAdoo Kawasaki and Roy Hanna Motors rider, Adam McLean picked up the ‘Man Of The Meeting’ award at Cookstown after a series of outstanding performances, the best of which was a stunning victory in the Supertwin race under very trying conditions. 

McLean is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the roads and can’t be ignored for further honours this coming weekend. 

Mullingar rider Derek McGee is set to compete in a multitude of classes. McGee, a triple roads champ in 2017, has the ability to win races on any machinery and cannot be discounted for success when racing gets underway. 

Temple Golf Club / Caffrey International backed rider William Dunlop looks to put a disappointing Cookstown 100 behind him as he turns his attention to Tandragee. Dunlop will take part in the Supersport and Superbike classes and will be hopeful for better results as he looks ahead to the international roads season beginning in earnest. 

Daniel Mettam has hit the ground running as the New Zealander stormed to an astonishing Open Race B win at Cookstown before adding a further podium finish in the Supertwin class. Fans will be eager to see the Billy McKinstry backed rider in action around the rolling hills of Tandragee. 

Michael Sweeney will be fancied to mix it for podium finishes as the MJ Racing rider is vastly experienced and was successful around Orritor last weekend. 

Canadian visitor Mel Gantly, who experienced his first taste of roads action at Cookstown, will contest the Tandragee 100. Mel has been bolstered by the support he has been shown by the road racing family and is looking forward to the challenges the Tandragee 100 will present to him. 

Other entrants include, Melissa Kennedy, Barry Davidson, Shaun Anderson, Sarah Boyes, Paul Robinson, Rhys Hardisty, Paul Jordan, Darren Cooper, Andy Farrell, Joe Loughlin, Davy Graham, Neil Kernohan, Davey Todd, Seamus Elliot and Dominic Herbertson are also signed up to race. 

Road Racing Daily wishes all the North Armagh club, and all entrants a successful and safe weekend’s racing. 

Roads close 3pm-9pm Friday and 10am-7pm Saturday. 
Programmes £15, Grandstands £5 on Friday & Saturday, Official Car Parks £5. The club would welcome a donation of £5 to help cover the ever growing costs. 
The Tandragee 100 Supporters Club will be in the Paddock selling memberships £10. All money goes straight back into the event which is run entirely by volunteers. 
There is a car park across the road at Clare Primary School, BT62 2HB, and the paddock is a 2 minute walk. 
Also check out the spectator section of the website

Tandragee 100 Road Races Page

RC Photos is the exclusive provider to Road Racing Daily for all Manx related motorsport. 

Road Racing Daily Michael Sweeney at the 2019 Skerries 100 Road Races

Michael Sweeney named Man of the Meeting at the 2019 Skerries 100 Road Races

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