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2016 Scarborough Gold Cup: Race weekend preview

This weekend sees the hosting of the annual International Gold Cup meeting at the iconic Oliver’s Mount circuit at Scarborough and it promises to be a special two days with the venue celebrating its 70th anniversary.

It doesn’t seem five minutes since the 50th birthday celebrations were taking place in 1996 when the likes of Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, Carl Fogarty, Joey Dunlop and Jim Redman were all in attendance in front of a staggering crowd of 64,000 and whilst those figures might not be reached this weekend, another glittering array of former stars have been attracted to the unique woodland circuit which should see a bumper crowd flock to the seaside venue.

Heading the entry is the Isle of Man TT outright lap record holder Michael Dunlop who’ll line up on his own MD Racing BMW S1000RR. The Ulsterman won the Gold Cup in the wet in 2013, only the second rider from Northern Ireland to do so, and although the circuit doesn’t necessarily suit his style, he’ll be keen to end his season on a high and get his name back on the trophy.


Twenty years since making his circuit debut, John McGuinness is back to try and reclaim the trophy he last won back in 1999 riding his own Bet Victor Superstock Honda Fireblade. The Morecambe Missile is also expected to have some of his former racing machines on display.

However, the man they’ll all have to beat to do that is undoubtedly Dean Harrison. The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider has been in imperious form at Oliver’s Mount this season, and indeed last, and has won practically every race he’s started recently in both the Superbike and Supersport classes. He took his first Gold Cup victory twelve months ago, when riding for Mar-Train Racing Yamaha, and is a good bet for making it two in a row.

The Northern Ireland-based Yamaha team are back in 2016 with rider Dan Kneen and although the Manxman only made his Oliver’s Mount debut twelve months ago, he’s done more than enough around the 2.4-mile venue to suggest he’ll pose a significant threat. Having missed the TT due to injury, the Braddan rider was in excellent form at the Ulster GP and a good set of results this weekend will be the perfect way to go into the winter months.

Perhaps the biggest threat to Harrison though will be Devitt RC Express Racing’s Ivan Lintin. The Lincolnshire rider has largely been the rider to finish second to Harrison this year but, having won the Gold Cup himself in 2014, he’s definitely got the potential to win it for a second time after enjoying another successful year with the Kawasaki machines of RC Express. The double TT winner will be the clear favourite for honours in the Supertwin races as well, while you can't rule out Lee Johnston who is a late entry on his East Coast machinery.

Another rider in with a chance of success in the feature race is Dan Hegarty. This year’s TT Privateer’s Champion only made his Oliver’s Mount debut in 2015 but has already established himself as a front runner and won the Bob Smith Trophy earlier this year. He’s impressed at all of the International road races this year and will have a significant presence in the Superbike and Supersport classes where he’ll line up for the first time on the Radcliffe Racing BMW and Honda machines.

Like his brother Michael, William Dunlop will be making a welcome return to Scarborough albeit in just the 125cc class whilst another returnee is Derek Sheils. The Dubliner was a front runner at Scarborough a few years ago but hasn’t been on the entry for some time; he’s a far more accomplished and established rider now so he’ll certainly be challenging for the podium positions.

Record race winner Ian Lougher, Alan Bonner, on the second Devitt RC express Racing Kawasaki, returns from injury after his Southern 100 spill whilst Daley Mathison – making his debut on the MotoDex Performance First BMW – James Cowton, Senior Manx GP winner Tom Weeden and Northern Ireland’s Adam McLean are other notable entries for what’s the final UK road race of 2016.

There are also three races on the schedule for the Formula Two Sidecars where the clear favourites for honours will be Tim Reeves and Patrick Farrance. The former World and British Champion and TT winner has been victorious at Oliver’s Mount in the past, including 2015, and his closest challengers are expected to be Lee Crawford/Sam Christie, Steve & Matty Ramsden, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers, John and Jake Lowther and Dave Wallis/Tony Belsey.

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