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Mawhinney's achievements recognised with coveted Bertie Mann title

Nico Mawhinney has been awarded the prestigious Bertie Mann Award for his achievements in 2013 – winning both the Irish and Ulster Superbike titles at just 20 years of age.

The Castledawson lad joins an illustrious list of former winners that include World Superbike stars Jonathan Rea (2003) and Eugene Laverty (2004), not forgetting TT star Michael Dunlop, who won in 2006.

It's the 40th year that this special award, reserved for local talent under the age of 21, has been presented. Mawhinney began his tarmac racing career back in 2007 aboard a 125cc Honda, purchased from current World Supersport champion Sam Lowes.

In 2009 he moved up to the 600cc Irish Clubmans' class, finishing second in the series the following season with nine lap records to boot. In 2011, against the advice of many within the sport, he purchased an ex-TAS Suzuki to compete in the Irish Clubmans' Superbike Championship.

He won the title at his first attempt and added the respective Ulster Superbike and Superstock titles to his CV.

Talking of his aspirations for the future, Mawhinney explained: "I'd like to go and race at British championship level if we can budget for it. I know it will take a few seasons to learn the circuits but I'm prepared to wait for the right chance."

* DESCRIBED as a great all rounder, Bertie Mann was a former President of the MCUI, was the Ulster 200cc Grass track champion in the 1950s and also fulfilled the role of, Clerk of Course at the Ulster Grand Prix when it was a world championship event.

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