Known as 'The Friendly Races' for over 50 years, the 2009 Steam Packet Company Southern '100' International Road Races has once again attracted the elite of the real road racing competitors, which over the four day festival will provide some of the most exciting 'racing between the hedges' to be seen in the British Isles in 2009.
Current Solo Champion, Ian Lougher heads a top class entry, but the opposition to his 'crown' is one of the toughest to date, with the likes of previous champion Ryan Farquhar, who is enjoying a tremendous season on the roads, despite disappointing results from the first two internationals he has
competed in. His recent results at the Bush and Athea Road Races proved he is back on form and cannot be discounted as the potential Solo Champion this year.
Likewise, Guy Martin, who has been dominant in previous years in the bigger solo classes, but ill-luck has thwarted his ambition to become 'Solo Champion' is also on a high after his recent TT Mountain Course results.
TT Supersport winner, Michael Dunlop is also on the starting grid, fresh from his triple victories at Skerries and will be out to prove he too his capable of taking the laurel wreaths more than once during the festival.
Conor Cummins heads the list of local riders in the big capacity classes on the McAdoo Kawasaki machines, but he will be closely contested by the likes of John Burrows, Ian Armstrong, William Dunlop, Carl Rennie, Davy Morgan and
Adrian McFarland, who is enjoying resurgence to his career after a 'quiet' couple of years.
In the two-stroke classes, there is bound to be a revival of the titanic battle of the 'veterans' of the 4.25-mile Billown course, between Chris Palmer and Ian Lougher!
The Dunlop brothers, Michael and William will be out to stop the old-men from taking the glory, as will Nigel Moore, Davy Morgan, Dan Sayle and Andrew Neill who are enjoying a period of prominence at present.
Late breaking news is that following his two third places at Skerries on the Uel Duncan sponsored Robinson Concrete ex-Gregorio Lavilla World Superbike Honda FireBlade, Michael Dunlop may well be riding the Gary Johnson bike at Billown.