Some of the finest road racers in the world will soon descend upon the beautiful 4.25 miles of the Billown Circuit to contest the Steam Packet Southern 100 International Road Races.
Heading the entry list in the solo classes is the current and 2011 Solo Champion, Michael Dunlop. He will be riding the machines upon which he recently joined the list of TT immortals by becoming only the third rider to win four races at one meeting. He will have the Honda Legends Superbike along with this own Supersport machines. He will start as favourite to retain his title; should he do so he will become only the second rider to win three titles in a row; the first being his uncle the late, great Joey who achieved the feat in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
Guy Martin will be one of the stars out to claim the premier prize. Guy won the title in 2010 after an epic 4 four way battle with Dunlop, Conor Cummins and the now retired Ryan Farquhar; less than 1 second covered them at the end of what was probably the best race ever seen at Billown. Guy loves the course and will be tough to beat. The Milwaukee Yamaha duo of Cummins and William Dunlop will be right up at the sharp end and are quite capable of taking the laurels. William set a new lap record in the 600cc race at the Post TT meeting; so is clearly right on form. Rising stars Dean Harrison, Ivan Lintin, Jamie Hamilton and James Cowton will also be challenging for wins at the best meeting of the year. Add regular top performers such as Dan Kneen, Michael Pearson, Ian Lougher, Paul Cranston and Davy Morgan into the mix and some superb racing is assured.
The smaller classes should see good battles between the likes of Lougher, Chris Palmer, Nigel Moore, William Dunlop, and Nigel Moore; with newcomer Paul Robinson also likely to be in the mix.
The Sidecar races will see full grids with current champions Ben and Tom Birchall hoping to retain their title. Fellow TT winners Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle; winners of the first race last year; will be out to grab the title for themselves. Former champions Ian and Carl Bell and TT runners up Conrad Harrison and Mike Aylott will ensure that it will be a close run affair at the front of the field.
The 14 race programme has attracted 21 circuit newcomers and 11 meeting newcomers to the aptly titled “friendly races.” The event begins with practice on Monday 7th July from 6.05pm until 9.40pm.Tuesday evening sees more practice and the first races; with Wednesday evening seeing further racing. Thursday has racing from 9.50am to 12.15pm and then from 1.00pm until 5.45pm. The very relaxed prize presentation takes place in Castletown Square on Thursday evening; it is special and not to be missed.