Ambitious Adam McLean has power to make major challenge at NW200
Adam McLean is one of a strong line-up of young riders on competitive machinery contesting the fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils from May 12 to 18.
The 22-year-old from Tobermore will campaign McAdoo Kawasakis in all classes at Portrush this year, with an impressive fourth position in Saturday's Supersport race a year ago helping him secure a place in the manufacturer-supported Kawasaki team, owned by the Cookstown father and son duo Winston and Jason McAdoo.
McLean commented: "I had no luck at the North West last year and only finished one race, taking fourth in the Supersport race, dicing with Alastair Seeley, William and Michael Dunlop.
"I suffered a heavy fall from Roy Hanna's ER6 Kawasaki in final qualifying after clipping a kerb on the exit of Juniper Chicane going for pole position in the Supertwin class."
McLean had numerous podiums in the Irish National Supersport races, but his biggest challenge came when his McAdoo team-mate James Cowton lost his life in a crash during last year's Southern 100.
McLean said: "I felt really down after what happened to James, but I wanted to race on, and at the Ulster Grand Prix I pulled the visor down and rode the best I've done in my career to date, taking my first Dundrod victory in the Supertwins, my first international road race win."
McLean also secured second and fourth positions in the Supersport races and if he can produce that form around the 8.9mile Triangle circuit he should be among the frontrunners in Supertwins and Supersport while still finding his way around the ZX10RR Superbike.
Meanwhile, the third round of the World Superbike Championship returns to Europe - at Motorland Aragon in Spain - with Ulstermen Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty beginning their free practice runs this morning.
Four-time WSBK champion Rea has had six second place finishes so far this season in the defence of his title, all behind the all-conquering, all-new Ducati V4 of ex-MotoGP rider Alvaro Bautista, and on his Kawasaki Rea will look to close the gap to the flying Spaniard.
Rea said: "It's been a nice break since Buriram, and Aragon is a good place to get back to business. I've won three times at the venue, part of nine podiums, and I enjoy the lay-out of the track. Finding a good set-up is crucial.
"It's an important race for my team as their headquarters are just a few hours from the track, near Barcelona, so we expect lots of support and I will give it my all to try and win."
Laverty looks to bounce back in Spain following his huge accident in Buriram when the brakes on his Team Goeleven Ducati V4 failed and he had to 'jump off' at 170mph, fortunately without injury.
The opening Irish road race of 2019, the KDM Cookstown 100 on April 26 and 27, was launched last night with the organising club announcing a reduction in the number of practice sessions and races.
For the first time in years the overall entry is down, but still includes triple Irish champion Derek McGee, Adam McLean - the 2018 Man of the Meeting - Derek Sheils, Michael Sweeney, Paul Jordan and a provisional Classic race entry from superstar Guy Martin on his 'home-brew' 830cc BSA.