2009 has seen some amazing road racing action between the hedges. From the first road race of the season at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough the dye was set as competitors navigated between the islands of Mann, Ireland and England to no less than twenty-four individual road races, to pit their wits against each other and the course itself at every venue, each with its own characteristics.
From the waving of the first chequered flag at the North Yorkshire venue, Ryan Farquhar showed a determination that he was the 'man to beat' throughout 2009, and so it has proved week in, week out as the Dungannon man has been claiming double, treble and quadruple victories on his KMR Kawasaki's, plus occasional rides on the Classic Italian Paton and Japanese Honda machines, on which he amassed 18 wins over a weekend at the Barry Sheene meeting – a record unlikely to be bettered for many a year.
These have not been run-away wins, having to battle regularly with the Dunlop brothers, Michael & William, Ian Lougher, John Burrows, Keith Amor, Guy Martin et el to score championship and rankings points.
The three traditional International races, North West 200; Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix provided some excellent racing, especially the latter, where no-one rider proved to be totally dominant.
Throughout the season, the 125 & 250 two-stroke races have provided there usual mixture of close exciting racing with the likes of Michael and William (Dunlop), Ian Lougher, Chris Palmer, Davy Morgan, Barry Davidson, Darren Burns, Nigel Moore, Phil Harvey and Lee Vernon battling for the chequered flag, meeting after meeting.
With the final road race in the island of Ireland, the Country Crest Killalane National having been run, the attention concentrates on the seaside venue of Oliver's Mount for the 59th Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup Road Races, where the organising Auto 66 Club under the auspices of Peter Hillaby have brought an impressive entry for this two day extravaganza of high speed action over the 2.43-mile closed
pubic road course.
Topping the list is Guy Martin, who is looking to take a record seventh Gold Cup victory. Martin has come to form once again in time for the final road race of this year, after winning the Solo Championship race at the Southern 100 and the second Superbike race at last months Ulster Grand Prix.
There has never been an Irish winner of the 'Steve Henshaw' feature race, but this year sees the best of the Irish riders present.
Pre-race favourite, Ryan Farquhar, finished runner-up to Martin at last years event and already has 57 victories to his credit this year, (prior to Killalane), and has taken the chequered flag ahead of the Kirmington star twice at Billown in July on his familiar Kawasaki machines.