Ace McLean wants more to shout about after treble yell
The 2019 Irish Road Racing season bursts into action today and tomorrow with the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 - and with Braeside and Craigmount sections of the 2.1mile Orritor Circuit recently resurfaced, Michael Dunlop's five-year-old lap record of 91.480mph could be in jeopardy.
Tobermore rider and Man of the Meeting a year ago, 22-year old Adam McLean, rides a full complement of McAdoo Kawasaki on his sponsor's home course and is coming off the back of three Supersport race wins over the Easter period at Bishopscourt and Kirkistown.
Another local rider who won a Supersport race at Kirkistown on Easter Monday is Magherafelt's Paul Jordan, who pilots the Alastair Russell R6 Yamaha and is keen to remind everyone that he is a force to be reckoned with - remember his stunning win over McLean at Armoy in July?
Heading the entry are Derek Sheils, debuting the new Burrows Engineering/RK Racing GSX-1000R Suzuki and Roadhouse Macau R6 Yamaha, who won the only Superbike race to take place at last year's weather affected meeting, and triple Irish road race champion and Lightweight TT runner-up Derek McGee with an enviable stable of machines including the ex-Ben Currie Gearlink Kawasaki Supersport machine, the ex-Moto3 Gresini Honda under the Italian Faraldo Racing banner plus a KMR Kawasaki in the Supertwin class and the NC Doyne/McGee Superstock Kawasaki.
McGee is also beginning the defence of his Duke Road Race Rankings title he won for the first time last season.
A late entry has been received from Classic Junior TT winner Dominic Herbertson, who will debut his Davies Motorsport Honda machinery.
Michael Sweeney has an excellent record around the Orritor Circuit, and is keen for a top step on his Open machine.
Last year's Irish Manx Grand Prix heroes Darryl Tweed, James Chawke, Michael Browne and Andy Farrell will line up in their respective classes while Czech Republic duo Michal 'Indie' Dokoupil and Veronika Hankocyova return to the Irish road race scene.
Amongst over 20 newcomers to the Cookstown 100 are 2016 Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Tom Weedon, competing for the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing team, Dutch female competitor Nadieh Schoots in the Open races, Adrian Harrison - brother of road racing star Dean - in the Open races and Sam Grief, now under the wing of Paul Robinson in the Moto3 race.
Roads close today at 12 noon ahead of 17 practice and qualifying sessions, which will be followed by hopefully five races, including for the first time the Open race.
Tomorrow roads close at 10am followed by a streamlined 12-race programme including the feature KDM Superbike race.
Meanwhile, Michael Dunlop took part in yesterday's BSB test day at Oulton Park putting crucial miles on his Tyco BMW Superbike ahead of the international road race season.
Glenn Irwin was best of the local Superbike runners in ninth position, 1.755secs behind fastest man Josh Brookes in two dry sessions before sitting out the last two wet sessions.
Keith Farmer was 12th fastest, joint championship leader Josh Elliott 16th, Andrew Irwin 21st followed by David Allingham with Dunlop 27th.
In the combined Superstock 1000 and Supersport sessions Jack Kennedy was best of the Supersport machines - fourth overall - with Alastair Seeley third fastest Supersport and Lee Johnston fifth.
Andy Reid was 11th fastest in Superstock with Graeme Irwin in 17th.
So another exciting Irish Road Racing season lies in store with the top riders ready to battle it out for the honours.
It promises to be well worth watching.