North West 200: Cummins out to be the Man
McAdoo Racing’s 23-year-old road racing sensation Conor Cummins is on course to become the Isle of Man’s first North West 200 winner in over 50 years, after setting the Superstock pole time during yesterday’s final practice session on the North Coast.
Cummins, now in his third season with Cookstown based McAdoo Racing, is delighted with his best ever qualifying session at the North Coast event, but is taking nothing for granted despite a positive start.
“I can’t complain too much about that session today,” said the big Manxman. “The Superstocker was just mint out there — it’s absolutely flying. This place is not all about high speed though, you also need good stability — as a matter of fact I’d say that is one of the main things around here and we’ve really improved our bikes since the opening session on Tuesday.”
McAdoo Racing has been one of Ireland’s leading teams between the hedges since the ’80s, making their first serious assault on the North West 200 back in 1986 with Paul Cranston — ironically, only weeks before Cummins was born on the Isle of Man.
Jason McAdoo, now overseeing team management duties alongside his father Winston, explained just how pleased they both are with the affable Manxman.
“We are very proud of our record in racing and also proud that we discover riders at an early stage and bring them through and to be honest we wouldn’t swap Conor for any other rider in this paddock,” he said. “When we signed Ian Hutchinson we though he was a young rider at 27, but people forget that Conor (pictured) is still only 23 years of age. Without sounding big headed, we’ve already given Hutchy and Ryan their first wins around here on McAdoo Racing Kawasakis, and fingers crossed we can do the same for Conor on Saturday.”
Going by historical records, adopted resident and prominent businessman on the Isle of Man, Geoff Duke OBE, is the last Isle of Man resident to celebrate success at the North West 200.
The Lancashire born former world champion’s victories came in the halcyon days with Gilera and Norton, but Cummins could set a new record this weekend, as the first-ever Manx born winner.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a genuine Manx winner at the North West, has there? But I don’t want to be predicting anything at this stage,” explained Cummins. On top of his Superstock pole position, Conor demonstrated his pedigree on the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki Superbike, before both premier class sessions were prematurely halted yesterday, but again his response was thoughtful and philosophical.
“I was really enjoying the Superbike session apart from getting caught up in traffic as I could have pushed a lot harder,” he said. “We have the Superbike well sorted and I love riding it.”