World Superbike contender, Isle of Man TT star Michael Dunlop and new MotoGP signing Eugene Laverty are among the big names in contention to be crowned the 2014 Irish Motorcyclist of the Year in Belfast on Friday.

A total of seven riders have been shortlisted for the prestigious award, which is backed by Adelaide Insurance Services and the Enkalon Club.

The coveted Joey Dunlop trophy is up for grabs to the winner during the gala event, which is regarded as the biggest night on the Irish motorcycling calendar.

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Laverty is the current holder of the silverware, receiving the trophy at his home in Monaco last year after finishing as the runner-up in the World Superbike Championship.

The 28-year-old, who has joined the Aspar Honda team, will fly into Northern Ireland to attend the event and will be joined by new Kawasaki WSBK rider Jonathan Rea, who will take a short break from testing in Spain.

Roads titan Dunlop, who last week revealed he would ride Yamaha's new YZF-R1 in the Milwaukee colours in 2015, is also one of the big favourites for the top gong after claiming is second successive TT four-timer last June.

The winner is decided based on the result of a special vote set up via an online poll in conjunction with the decision of a panel of judges chaired by former British championship Adrian Coates.

The remaining four nominees are Alastair Seeley, Glenn Irwin, Jack Kennedy and Michael Laverty.

A total of 12 awards in all will be presented at the sparkling bash in Belfast on Friday.