The Bennetts British Superbike Championship's return to Mondello Park will be greeted even more enthusiastically than previously by local spectators who are expected to flock to the circuit in even greater numbers than normal to follow the fortunes of the local riders aiming for glory.
The only overseas round of BSB, which is the top motor racing championship in the British Isles, comes to Mondello this weekend (June 15th-17th), with the support of Failte Ireland the Irish National Tourism Development Authority.
This year Irish spectators will have more than just a regular British Superbike round to look forward to with so much interest centering on local riders and particularly rising Northern Irish star Jonathan Rea. Coming off the back of his first major victory at the Suzuka 300KM race in Japan and buoyed by the news that he will make a sensational MotoGP debut at Donington Park the following weekend, Rea will be looking to translate his excellent form into his first ever BSB victory at his home race.
Another major attraction will be a demonstration run by an ex Loris Capirossi MotoGP Ducati, which represents the first opportunity for Irish fans to catch the incredible sight and sound of a Grand Prix machine on home soil. The MotoGP demo will take place on Sunday in between the two BSB races and should electrify the expected large crowd if it's previous demonstration runs at UK circuits are anything to go by.
Sunday's race day will see the two BSB races supported by races for Supersport, Superstock and 125cc GP classes. Both Superbikes and Superstock are split into two divisions and in each division there are strong local contenders. Alongside Rea in the main Superbike class, Ulsterman Marty Nutt and Dublin's Paul Barron will start among the favourites to take a win in the Privateer Cup, which is contested by the best up and coming riders.
Elsewhere the Supersport championship is currently led by Northern Irish team TAS Suzuki who hold both first and second places with Ulster riders Michael Laverty and Ian Lowry. In the Supersport Privateers Cup Dublin's Jack Kennedy is aiming to make his return following a leg breaking accident just five weeks ago. The teenager has already tasted class victory this season and is preparing to ride through the pain barrier in order to repeat the feat on home soil while also aiming for a top ten position overall.
The two Superstock races for near standard road bikes and a single 125cc race round out the race day programme and both have a healthy dose of local contenders, either racing full time in the series or taking wild card spaces for their home event.