Dan Kneen faces a tough task this weekend at the Scarborough Gold Cup meeting as his bids to retain the silverware for Northern Ireland’s Mar-Train Racing team.
Dean Harrison won the coveted trophy for the team in 2015 for the first time and will be the man to beat at Oliver’s Mount on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki machines.
However, Kneen is aiming to round off the season in style after an injury-hit year, which saw the Manx rider ruled out of the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT through injury.
He was back in action at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man in July before using the Armoy meeting as a warm-up for the Ulster Grand Prix last month, where he finished third in the Superstock race behind Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop to seal the team’s maiden podium at Dundrod.
Kneen managed four top-six finishes in all the fastest road race in the world and hopes to carry his form into the 70th anniversary Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup race on Sunday.
“It will be nice to get back on the Mar-Train Yamahas again this weekend. After the Ulster I just wanted the season to be starting again so it was a pity we had another few weeks off to be honest,” he said.
“It was nice to reflect on a few good results; I was definitely under pressure to rescue something from the season so I can go into this weekend with a bit of that pressure off really.
“There is a strong entry for both classes so I’m looking forward to some good close racing and hopefully putting the Yamaha UK bikes back on the podium again.”
Team principal Tim Martin admits Kneen’s international podium at Dundrod eased some of the frustration after Mar-Train Racing missed the TT and he is now hoping for more rostrum kudos in north Yorkshire this weekend.
“It was a huge relief to get back on an international podium at the Ulster so we are all keen to build on that and stand on the top step this weekend at Scarborough.
“Both Dan and the bikes are more than capable of winning despite the strong entry and track specialists. We dominated last year’s event so have some good base settings to work off in practice on Saturday morning to hit the ground running.
“There should be a fantastic crowd there with the 70th anniversary celebrations going on so hopefully we can put on a good show and have an enjoyable and successful weekend.”
The feature invitation Gold Cup event takes top billing on Sunday, when the line-up also includes 13-time TT winner Michael Dunlop and Ivan Lintin (Devitt RC Express Kawasaki).