In August 2021 the easing of Covid Restrictions, a window of opportunity in the weather and the luck of the Temple Motorcycle Club allowed for the running of the 3rd round of the Ulster Superbike Championship at Bishopscourt Race Circuit.
The uncertainty of the time meant that many motorcycle fans missed out on a great day and a heroic double Superbike win for Alastair Seeley on his IFS Global Logistics Yamaha.
That was last year! For all motorcycle riders and fans alike 2022 is about to hit the ground running, as the first wheels scorch the tarmac this racing season at Round One of The Ulster Superbike Championship hosted by the Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club, April 2nd at Bishopscourt Race Circuit.
In a recent press event held at Eight South in Carryduff we heard from some of the riders to be contending this April. Alastair Seeley the reigning Ulster Superbike Champion, 600cc & Supersport champ spoke of his agenda for the upcoming race season. He is of course the man to beat. While the rest of us were thinking about track and trace, Alastair Seeley was busy with tests and race. Preparing himself and his bikes for the season ahead. The Carrick man is tackling the new Yamaha R1 which he described as being in the early stages of taming and spoke of his Yamaha R6 600 upgrade both of which we look forward to seeing on the day. There is no doubt the IFS Global Logistics Racing Team will endeavour to defend their titles with entries in both the 600cc & Superbike races next Saturday. With 24 NW200 wins under his belt it’s clear that Alastair loves the sport, camaraderie and competition, as he said himself ‘may the best rider win’ and he will be hard to beat.
Another team taking part this year and with their eyes on the prize are the JMcC Roofing Race team, a local Banbridge based team, they have riders competing in the Ulster Superbike, Super twin and Supersport 600. Rider Jason Lynn explained this will be his 2nd season racing in the Superbike. He too has high hopes that his recent ZX10 testing in Spain and this coming week in Bishopscourt will set him in good stead to give Alastair Seeley and the others a run for their money. Having progressed from a Suzuki to the Kawasaki ZX10, this is certainly a team and a rider not to be missed. Teammate Scott Clements will join him on the day as the JMcC Roofing Race Team put 4 bikes out on the circuit.
Not to be underestimated are the Magic Bullet Team, Jonny Campbell, Ross Irwin and Richard McFarland have worked hard to make their name on tarmac. Jonny will ride a Yamaha R6 in the 600 Supersport, a bike he described as having plenty of punch so there’s no room for complacency Jonny means business. Campbell may be mild mannered in person but there’s no doubt he is lionhearted in the race and raring to get out there. Ross Irwin will grace the circuit on a new steed, having raced previously on a 10 year old ZX10 and a super twin bike he purchased on eBay. Ross has progressed onto a Magic Bullet Honda CBR1000 which he describes as smooth, more inviting to race on, and will certainly be instrumental in his rise to Ulster Superbike Champion. Irwin’s Cousin Richard McFarland will take to the track on a Magic Bullet Triumph 675 and his brothers, both well known local riders Glen & Andrew Irwin will join them in the paddock with tips and advice, however these competitors need no wingmen and are a team to be watched on the day for their own capabilities and talent. With the support of owner Stanley Watson they have all the gear this year and have no plan to let Seeley out of their sight.
There was much admiration of the Sam McBride Superbike Cup with Alastair commenting that he had nothing like it in his trophy cabinet. Few do! The trophy was recently donated to the Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club via Winston Buchanan from the family of Mr John Hayes having been presented to his father Mr Jimmy Hayes for winning the Temple 100 Road race in 1935. The Hayes family kindly donated the trophy to the club in his honour and the members agreed it would be presented in memory of lifelong club member, the late Sam Mcbride, to be awarded to the overall winner on April 2nd.
Club Chairman David Gibson introduced the 2022 Clerk of the Course Mr Adrian Craig, who has participated in the club since 1963 having won the Temple 100 himself in 1977. The club are grateful to have him and he is ready to take on the role, echoing the club’s thoughts as he wished for all to have a safe days racing.
Our gratitude as a club is extended to the team owners and sponsors, riders and members for all of their participation in anticipation of the big event.
The Temple Motorcycle & Athletic Club still in it’s landmark centenary year seem set to run another unmissable day.
The Ulster Superbike Championship will be a close encounter with motorbike racing at its best.
Admission will be £12 at the gate inc. a programme of the day’s events sponsored by local businesses who share a passion in racing and supporting motorsports in Northern Ireland. Bishopscourt April 2nd, first race starts at 11am! Where else would you get it.