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Laverty in mix for top motorcycle accolade

Reigning British Superbike champion Tommy Hill among special guests at gala evening in Belfast
Factory Aprilia star Eugene Laverty faces tough opposition to retain his status as the Enkalon Irish Motorcyclist of the Year in Belfast on Friday.

Laverty, who finished fourth in the World Superbike Championship last season and won his maiden races at Monza with a stunning double, was awarded the coveted Joey Dunlop Trophy in 2011 after he was voted as the Northern Ireland public's top rider of the year.

The 25-year-old has a huge chance of collecting the main award for a second consecutive year at the star-studded bash following a whirlwind debut campaign in World Superbikes, but reigning British Supersport champion Alastair Seeley and road racing hero Michael Dunlop are snapping at his heels.

The Adelaide Motorcycle Awards ceremony in Belfast is regarded as motorcycle racing's most prestigious prize-giving occasion in the UK, attracting the biggest names and teams from the sport.

Castrol Honda World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea, a previous winner of the main accolade at the awards, will miss the event as he is currently testing the 2012 Honda Fireblade at Phillip Island in Australia.

However British Superbike champion Tommy Hill, plus Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness, BSB riders Stuart Easton and Michael Rutter, Gino Rea and road racers Michael Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar are among the special guests at the event.

A host of awards will be presented on the night, overseen by a panel of judges chaired by ex-British 250cc champion Adrian Coates.

In recent years former riders including Eddie Laycock, Phillip McCallen, Sammy Miller and Brian Reid have been inducted into the Bridgestone Hall of Fame at the event, while 15 times world champion Giacomo Agostini was a hugely popular guest in 2008, when he was presented with the International Achievement Award.



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