Paul Jordan aiming to cut it on TT debut
Magherafelt butcher Paul Jordan is currently buried in turkey and gammon orders in the run-up to Christmas and New Year, but the talented racer will be looking to carve up a different type of challenge in 2017 when he will finally get to make his debut at the world's most famous road race - the Isle of Man TT.
The 25-year-old, who started out as a talented short circuit racer in the British Championship, has spent the last number of years plying his trade between the hedges.
This season he posted a handful of top-10 finishes on the International Road Racing scene and a fourth place at the Ulster Grand Prix, all of which further outlined his ever-improving credentials.
And young Jordan believes that those results are enough to finally allow him to go and take on the Everest of road racing challenges in late May/early June - the world-renowned and revered 37.73-miles of road racing tarmac on Mona's Isle that we all know and love as the TT.
"I could have done it in 2010 or 2011, and like every young fella I thought, 'I really want to have a go at that'," he said of the testing TT Circuit.
"But I was just too young at 19 to be taking on that sort of challenge, so after a year out of racing I came back and adapted to the road racing scene first."
Jordan will again ride Honda Supersport and Kawasaki Supertwin machinery under the B&W/Site Sealants Racing team banner in 2017, which is run by Brian Hull and Guy Amor, brother of recently retired international road racer Keith.
Speaking of his debut trip to the Isle of Man just last week, which was organised and supervised by TT supremo Paul Phillips and his motorsport development team, Jordan said: "The whole set-up is so professional and it's amazing how well I was looked after.
"Sophie (Lowney), who I have to say a very special thank you to, organised all of my flights, accommodation and a hire car as well as scheduled laps of the TT circuit with both Johnny Barton and Richard (Milky) Quayle."
And Jordan - who plans to travel to the Isle of Man twice a month to make sure his preparation is second to none - revealed that his little hire car now knows the circuit almost as well as TT legend John McGuinness!
He said: "Yeah, I did 11 laps and I was pleased that I was able to identify what was coming up next for most of the lap. The work I've done so far is obviously paying off.
"Ginger Hall to Ramsey is probably the toughest section, which is what I've been told and was expecting.
"But the whole place needs treated with respect. You can really see where the speed comes from, as the surface and road conditions are superb."
Looking ahead, and not wanting to overload on information too early in his preparation, he concluded: "If I have to sacrifice some national racing in 2017 to polish up my preparation then that's what I'll do.
"I know Josh Brookes (the 2015 British Superbike champion) did about 150 laps prior to his debut year, and look how talented he is.
"But that's what it takes and although I'm not making any lap speed predictions public, I know what I'd like to achieve and the goal overall is to finish as top newcomer in 2017."