McWilliams to make comeback at Kirkistown
Former 250cc Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams from Glengormley could return to local action for the first time in 15 years, at the Irish Superbike Championship at Kirkistown on July 14.
McWilliams is currently racing in the German IDM Supersport series as mentor to Ballinamallard’s 15-year-old rising star Josh Elliott, but next week the 45-year-old will turn out on the IFS Global Logistics 600cc Yamaha, where his main role is to set-up the bike for team owner and close friend Graeme Hanna, who described the outing as: ‘just a bit of fun’.
McWilliams is as passionate as ever about his racing and is enjoying his new role as team leader in the Direct CCTV superbikeacademy.com race team that he heads up with his German based business partner Gerry Bryce; although when we spoke only yesterday, he was keen to play down his Mike Hailwood-esque return to Irish racing after over a decade in the wilderness!
“I got a phone call about doing five parade laps with all the other older guys to help the club and I thought, if we are there we might as well race if the circumstances are correct,” said McWilliams.
“Graeme Hanna offered me his bike and we are there primarily to get it set up. I’ll go down on Tuesday morning and try it out and decide from there.”
Should he decide to race — and it is almost certain that he will — McWilliams will be a welcome addition to the Irish Supersport and Superbike grids on Tuesday at the Kirkistown holiday meeting.
As previously mentioned, he has been keeping his hand in with rides in the IDM Supersport series, returning from injury — a broken ankle back in April — to open his first bottle of podium champagne last weekend at the Salzburgring, finishing second behind 19-year-old Sascha Hommel.
McWilliams decision to ride will undoubtedly draw a larger than anticipated crowd at Kirkistown and if his two 25 minute practice and qualifying sessions offer enough time for him to feel comfortable on the Yamaha, then he can be fully expect him to be challenging for honours.
“The last time I raced at Kirkistown was in Richard Parson’s Radical Sportscar,” joked McWilliams.
“And I think the last time I was on two wheels was in 1993 or 1994 on the Miller bike at the Sunflower.
“It’s nice to support the club and good to see the likes of Kirk Jamison putting in the effort to organise something a little bit different, so it’s a pleasure to be involved.”
Elliott, who just turned 15 in May, will also be at Kirkistown, but after crashing heavily at the Salzburgring last weekend, the
youngster will be standing on the sidelines on Tuesday, possibly making a ‘home’ season debut at the Mondello Masters on October 3/4th.
McWilliams explained: “Josh was pretty banged up in Germany and they kept him overnight as a precautionary measure.
“I would actually have preferred that Josh was riding at Kirkistown, but we will look to get him a ride for the Sunflower and maybe even the Mondello Masters. As he’s only 15 this will be down to the MCUI.”
Elliott has also enjoyed podium success in the German series, with double delight at the Nurburgring earlier in the season, but his non points scoring finishes last weekend leave him tenth in the series — a respectable position nonetheless for the schoolboy rookie.