Jamie Hamilton hopes to shine at Dundrod
Wilson Craig Racing's Jamie Hamilton is looking forward to next week's Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix, where the Ballyclare lad will be looking to shine after an up-and-down debut season in the Londonderry-based Honda team.
The 23-year-old, only in his third full season of international road racing, had a difficult North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, but a four-timer at Bush and a double at Skerries was enough to make us believe the former British Superstock 600cc champion was finally finding his feet.
Sadly the Skerries event was best remember for Hamilton's crash in the Grand Final, where the youngster did quite a bit of damage to both himself and his Superstock Honda, as he recounted.
"I broke the iliac crest off my pelvis, which is basically the little wing at the top where your love handles are," explained Hamilton.
"I also broke a rib; dislocated my left shoulder, did a bit of damage to the right shoulder and cracked my sternum and had bruising on the lungs, so I got a right dig," he added, with an air of youthful nonchalance.
Hamilton's crash was the result of a coming together with in-form national road racer and newcomer to the Irish scene in 2014, Dan Kneen, on the Cookstown BE Racing Suzuki. Hamilton wasn't prepared to apportion blame and simply put it down to a racing incident.
Looking ahead to next week's Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix is now the only thing on Hamilton's mind, but first and foremost he has a few niggling little injury problems to rectify before he blasts off into Rock Bends and Budore.
"I'm going to see a specialist on Thursday. I had a few problems at Armoy with a lump of fluid in my leg, which has been causing me quite a bit of pain. I think it's coming from where I broke my pelvis and it's sitting in a pocket in my leg, but I'm feeling quite strong otherwise."
The Dundrod circuit holds a special place in Hamilton's heart, with previous family involvement in administrative roles at the event and despite riding to put himself in the shop window for 2015 – he's not feeling too much pressure.
"Hopefully my injuries can hold up to the high speed at the Ulster on the Wilson Craig bikes," he said honestly.
"Last year I should have won the Lightweight race, but finished second. My Supertwin is a strong bike, James Cowton finished on the podium with it at the TT," he said of the Stewart Smith-prepared ER6 Kawasaki.
"It will be a hard race with four or five guaranteed to be battling at the front, but it's my home race and I'll be looking for the win this year," he said.
Looking to the four-stroke classes with his stable of Wilson Craig Hondas, which is ultimately where most teams pick their riders from in a chosen season, Hamilton said: "I made a good showing for myself last year. I actually beat Cameron Donald on the Wilson Craig bikes I'm now riding this season.
"I lapped at over 130mph and finished fifth in the second Superbike race, so I know I can be fast. But there are plenty of other riders out there with the same intentions."
What is so special about the Ulster Grand Prix?
"It's the speed of the place. It always creates great racing with the slipstream and the fast corners, and the big thing for me is I only work a couple of miles up the road and don't live so far away.
"My mum used to work signing the riders on and my Granda was chairman of the club, so it's a massive event for me and one everyone will be at."