Title fight wide open as the Principle Insurance Masters returns to the track

With two events complete, the 2024 Principal Insurance Masters Superbike Championship heads to Mondello Park for Rounds 7, 8 and 9 with the title fight wide open. June 29th & 30th will see three more rounds contested bringing the championship to its half way point.

Backed by Motorcycle Insurance specialists Principal Insurance, Part of Howden, the series returned for 2024 following an enforced lay-off in 2023 and so far has produced some close and competitive racing. Three different riders have tasted Superbike victory and the same number have shared the wins in the Supersport category.

Heading into the latest Masters event the Superbike championship is wide open. Three time winner, Daracore Racing’s Kevin Keyes, and double victor Derek Sheils, have only completed one event each so its Brian McCormack, the round six winner, who leads the way. The Roadhouse Macau backed rider cannot relax however, as following event four all riders will discount their lowest scoring weekend, which should bring Sheils and Keyes back into contention.

In the Supersport category, Tipperary youngster Oisin Maher is having his best season to date with three wins at the last event in May catapulting him into a twenty five point lead over his AKR Thomas Bourne Racing team mate Emmett O’Grady. Impressive ‘Cup’ class competitor Brandon Kavanagh, riding a Kawasaki for Brian McCormack’s team, sits third ahead of round three winner Keyes, who missed all of May’s races due to a crash in pre-event testing.

The Megabikes Supertwin category has also been a happy hunting ground for Supersport treble winner Maher, as he has taken six wins from the six races so far, on his Tag Racing VTL Aprilia 660. Maher’s main opposition has come from Sean Brolly and Darragh Crean but it remains to be seen if Brolly can make the grid in two weeks time having broken his collarbone in a Superbike crash at the May event. Masters sponsor Crean will be back to put pressure on Maher, with his Elcofire backed Aprilia, having missed the may event due to his clashing British Superbike commitments.

The DM Groundworks Junior Championship is set for an unusual weekend as all three races will run on the Sunday in order to make room on the Saturday timetable for the FIM MiniGP Championship. The Junior series is divided into two categories and in the Moto1 division its Fionn O’Connell who leads the way ahead of Fionn Stephens and Joey Hennesy. In the faster Junior Supersport class, for slightly older riders, Reuben Sherman Boyd leads the standings and is on a run of twenty three race wins from twenty four Masters starts since the beginning of 2022. The only other rider to break that streak was round 2 victor, Rhys Gates, riding for the JTEC Sports team.

The remainder of the programme will be made up of two races on Saturday for FIM MiniGP and three races over the two days for Classic Superbikes, Pre-Injection, Moto 400 and Sidecars. Sunday’s racing will, as usual, be broadcast live on the championships livestream, courtesy of series sponsor Principal Insurance. For more information and tickets to the June Masters event see www.masterssuperbike.ie.