Next weekend sees the final road race of the domestic season with the 67th Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup taking place at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough. And having dominated proceedings around the woodland venue for the last two and a half seasons, it would take a brave man to bet against Dean Harrison.
The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider has swept all before him at the 2.43-mile venue, including winning all the major trophies and claiming a new outright lap record earlier this year. He’s won the Gold Cup for the last two years and will be aiming to make it a hat-trick in Sunday’s feature 8-lap race.
However, he can expect a number of stiff challenges, none more so than from Michael Dunlop. Although Scarborough isn’t one of his favourite venues, he won the Gold Cup in 2013 and has won numerous races in 2017 on the Bennetts Suzuki, including, of course, the Senior TT, so he cannot be ruled out this time around.
Further contenders for honours across a packed 22-race programme should be Daley Mathison (Eddie Stobart Racing) who pushed Harrison all the way at the Cock o’ the North meeting in June, when they both broke the old lap record, Jamie Coward (Radcliffe Racing), 2014 Gold Cup winner Ivan Lintin (Dafabet Devitt Racing) and Daniel Hegarty (Top Gun Racing). All four are more than capable of taking race wins over the course of the two days.
Having made his return to Oliver’s Mount twelve months ago, Derek Sheils can also be expected to be amongst the front runners, given his form in Ireland on the BE Cookstown Suzuki with Adam McLean also likely to impress on the MSS Kawasaki’s and Mark Hanna’s Supertwin. Fellow countryman Lee Johnston is also expected to be back at Scarborough on the East Coast Racing machines.
Ian Lougher, the most successful rider in history at Oliver’s Mount, James Cowton, Joey Thompson, Dan Sayle, Craig Neve, Mark Goodings, Davey Todd, Michael Russell, Davy Morgan, Barry Furber, David Jackson and Michael Russell should also feature prominently in their respective races.
A whole host of riders who impressed at the recent Manx Grand Prix are also on the entry list including Lightweight and Newcomers A race winners Darren Cooper and Brad Vicars. Podium finishers Barry Lee Evans, Jamie Williams and Stephen Parsons are also confirmed along with Nick Anderson, Mike Norbury and 2016 Senior MGP winner Tom Weeden.
There are also four races scheduled for the Formula Two Sidecars with Lee Crawford/Patrick Farrance, Steve and Matty Ramsden, Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle and John and Jake Lowther expected to be disputing the race wins.
As well as the Gold Cup, the David Jefferies (Supersport), Lee Pullan (Super Twin), Phil Mellor (Lightweight), Stu Reed (Ultra-Lightweight) and Les & Sheila Porritt (Sidecar) trophies are up for grabs.
Saturday sees practice get underway at 9.00am with the first of the ten races scheduled to start at 2.00pm. Sunday’s activity will also start at 9.00am although the first of the 11 races will commence at 11am.