By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The sixth edition of the Portaferry Three Day, organised by Ards CC, starts on Friday at the Kirkstown Motor Racing Circuit. The opening stage begins with twenty laps of the circuit.
2004 winner Gary Crory will be backed by a strong Team Terry Dolan squad including Willie Hamilton, Tommy Evans, Brendan Graham and Alan Hall. Adam Armstrong and Frazer Duncan of Northern Dave Kane will be among the favourites and locals Kirk Sloan and promising junior Andrew Hedley will also take part.
Prizes will be awarded for the first four on each stage, the first four overall, the first category 2 overall, the first category 3, Junior and Veteran overall and the first two teams plus the points competition.
The entry list so far includes Norway based Linus Murphy, who was Irish Junior Champion back in 1983, comeback rider Raymond Brownfield (North Down and Lenny Kirk (Slane Cycles) a stage winner in the recent Newry three-day. Shaun Gray (Orchard), overall winner of the Newry three-day, will also take part.
Saturday's 50-mile morning stage includes four laps of Strangford Lough circuit followed by a time trial in the afternoon.
Sunday's 51-mile road race over three laps of the Portaferry-Cloughy-Kircubbin course will not be as predictable as in the past due to the evenness of the field.