The patience of the motorcycling community in Ireland we’re rewarded last weekend on 2 fronts. It saw the resumption of the premier class competition in motorcycling when Moto GP sprung back to action in Qatar and as always threw up some interesting results on the first weekend. However, the talk of the town had to be the arrival of the World’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman to the Cork Bike Show. Fresh from their training camp with 2-time World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards, Hickman landed in Cork along with his FHO Racing teammate and Waterford native Brian McCormack. The list of superstars didn’t end there as the triple British Supersport Champion Jack Kennedy also made the journey to Cork.
Those that we’re lucky enough to secure a seat for Saturday night’s chat show with renowned photographer Stephen Davison we’re treated to a great night’s entertainment. James Carroll initiated proceedings with 4 of Cork’s finest motorcycling talents. The Ballyhooly Bullet Jamie Collins is the current Mondello Masters Supersport Cup champion and outlaid his plans to step up to the Superbike class this season. Stephen Tobin holds the title for the Moto 400 class after a truly dominant year which saw him win 15 races from 15 starts. Ray Casey had somewhat of a hiatus last year but a new addition to the family has brought about a new drive for the 2022 season in Superbikes. The night belonged to the history maker Aoife Griffin who in 2021 became the first lady to ever with a National short circuit Championship and was presented with the Club rider of the year Award by Peter Hickman himself.
Stephen Davison picked up where James left off with another fantastic line-up on stage with a mix of experience and youth from the roads and tarmac disciplines. Coy as ever Mike Browne spoke of his rapid rise in road racing circles which saw him take his maiden National road race victory at the Cookstown 100. In stark contrast a veteran of the road racing scene Derek Sheils laid out his stall for the new campaign after some very impressive performances around Mondello last year. The Racing Barber Vinny Brennan was optimistic for the approaching season and his meticulous livery and outfit always turn the heads most notably due to his dominance in the support classes in recent years. Dongeal’s Caolan Irwin steps up to British Supersport with R&R racing in his rookie season and last but by no means least Jack Kennedy spoke about his plans to secure a fourth British Supersport Championship with Northern Ireland based Mar-Train Yamaha team.
It was hard not to feel a little emotional about the next part of the night as Mr. Davison took us on a trip down memory lane through the annals of modern day road racing in Cork which was revived in 2019 around the triangle circuit in Glanmire back as far as the magically captured scenes from Dunmanway in 2010. We we’re reminded of how lucky we are to have such a breath-taking sport here on our shores as well as the pinnacle of road racing that is the Isle of Man making a return to form in 2022.
The always entertaining John Dunne rounded out the night as he was joined on stage by the fastest man around the TT mountain course Peter Hickman as well as the fastest ever Southern Irishman around the same circuit Brian McCormack. How lucky we were to have these 2 riders present was an achievement in itself as they had just landed in Ireland having only completed the Texas Tornado’s Colin Edward’s Bootcamp in Texas! The pair have completed a full BSB season with mixed results but will have proved the ideal preparation for a full road racing campaign which will include the North West 200, the Isle of Man TT and hopefully the Macau GP.
All roads then lead to Carrigtwohill on Sunday morning as the motorcycling once again came out in force to the Bike Show. While it proved to be challenging to get vendors back out on the road, those that did make the journey we’re rewarded with the footfall through the gates as the masses descended on the show. The overall sense of relief on peoples faces who were able to catch up and meet with so many friends from the biking community for the first time in almost 2 years filled the venue with a great sense of pride. For those who couldn’t make it to the preceding night in the Midleton Park Hotel were fortunate able to rub shoulders with the Hickman, Kennedy and McCormack once again as they spoke again about their respective seasons. What would a bike show be without some bespoke, classic and stunning examples of 2 and 3 wheeled machinery with Mick McCarthy of Goose Customs taking Best Build for his Project Goosewing trike. Mike Tobin took the Best Paint award for his immaculate Trike and Dan Swanton took home the accolade for Best Vintage with his 125 NSR. Barry Gill from Limerick had an array of bikes on display and took home the glassware for Best Vintage with his AJS.
The Club would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported us in any way over the weekend and in the lead up to the show. Bear in mind a month ago we would not have been in a position to hold the show with the restrictions that were in place at the time so we owe so much to the motorcycle community for coming out and making the weekend a memorable one once again. With that support the Club will continue to promote all things motorbike related and we hope to see you all again soon for the Munster 100 road races around the Glanmire track on the 25th and 26th of June.