Newcomer Paul Jordan homing in on some sweet success
This weekend's KDM Hire Cookstown 100 is a sure bet to produce a battle royal in the Superbike class between the men in form - Manxman Dan Kneen on the Mar-Train Racing R1 and Cookstown B.E Racing's Derek Sheils and Malachi Mitchell Thomas.
But Magherafelt's Paul Jordan, who is a relative newcomer to pure road racing after a lengthy spell in British championship, will be hoping that his home race can add a bit of sparkle to his own performance, following a more than satisfactory weekend last time out at the Tandragee 100.
The 24-year-old engineer took a brace of top six finishes at Tandragee in the Supersport and Supertwin classes last weekend and has aspirations of a podium finish at his local race.
"Although 2015 was really my first full season on the roads, this will be my fourth time at Cookstown and I'd like to chance my arm and say I'd like to be running in as close to a podium finish as possible," he said.
Jordan was a top-flight 125cc British championship competitor and finished third in the series with a handful of wins back in 2008 before opting for a road racing career in recent seasons.
In 2009 he narrowly missed out on an impressive points-scoring finish in the British 125cc Grand Prix race at Donington Park - a soft gear change on the final dropping him from 10th place to 16th where a certain Marc Marquez pipped him to the line by half a wheel.
Like many youngsters from these shores, sponsorship, budget, and being in the right place at the right time can sometimes determine your fate.
And despite having raced with Marquez, beaten current World Supersport Championship challenger Randy Krummenacher at the aforementioned British Grand Prix, and been a leading protagonist in British champion, the Magherafelt man still in still waiting for that big break.
"I won the Irish and Ulster 125cc championships on the roads last year, which was effectively my first full season," said Jordan, who is backed by Brian Hull and Guy Amor - former NW200 winner Keith Amor's brother and his loyal local sponsor.
"Brian and Guy have provided the bikes and my dad and I run and maintain them, which can be expensive, but all part of what racing is about," smiled the affable mid-Ulster lad.
"I think last weekend's Tandragee 100 was the first new set of tyres I've ever used on the 600, but I know I have the ability and it's just about chipping away and hoping the breaks come."
With newcomer to the Irish national scene Malachi Mitchell-Thomas currently the name on everyone's lips after his debut hat-trick at Mid Antrim and three podiums at Tandragee, Jordan was pragmatic in his summing up.
"It's good for the sport to see young riders getting an opportunity and even though I did have a brief chat with John [Burrows] about this season, I can understand why he signed Malachi," said Jordan of the Bolton sensation, who is the current Senior Manx Grand Prix champion.
"I'm really looking forward to Cookstown as it's my local race, but I will have one eye on the North West 200 and a potential podium on the B&W/Site Sealants Kawasaki.
"Maybe then Paul Phillips [IOM TT motorsport development manager] will come knocking and I'll get that offer to go and race the TT - that's what I'd really like."
Four races will follow practice and qualifying tomorrow at the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 where roads close at 12pm, with a 15-race programme schedule for Race Day Saturday.
Roads close at 10am.