Derek McGee sets standard in Cookstown treble win
Competitors, officials and spectators had to endure difficult conditions during Saturday's KDM Hire Cookstown 100, making it a huge credit to everyone involved that the race programme was completed, albiet with a few minor tweaks.
High winds and rain made for unpredictable conditions, but Derek McGee overcame all that the day had to throw at him with Man of the Meeting performances that saw him take five podiums - three wins, a second and a third.
Hot on McGee's heels came locally based McAdoo Kawasaki with their rider, 22-year old Adam McLean, taking four podiums from four starts in three different classes, winning a red-flagged Supersport race, finishing second in Royal Hotel Open race and Supertwin events and third in the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 feature race on the ZX10 RR Kawasaki.
Derek Sheils, out for the first time on the new-look Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki, got his day off to a winning start in the Royal Hotel Open race, held over from Friday evening.
This was his sixth straight Cookstown 100 Superbike race victory, but McGee brought that winning run to an end in the feature race that had been red-flagged twice before a result was declared from the third lap when the Mullingar Missile and his CITP Superstock Kawasaki was nine one hundredths ahead of Sheils with McLean half a second back in third.
McGee said: "Derek got the drop on me in the Open race and as I chose to ride the Supersport machine in tricky conditions I couldn't get near him nor Adam, also on his Supersport.
"But in the big race on the Superstock I led, then Derek got past and I was able to get to the front again when the red flags came out for the second time and luckily I was ahead at the time."
The Supertwin encounter between the KMR Kawasaki of McGee and the McAdoo Kawasaki of McLean was a seven-lap thriller, the pair never more than a few yards apart and at times looking for the same piece of track, as they battled on damp roads.
McLean led for the first four laps before McGee made his race winning move on lap five and, try as he might, McLean could not retaliate finishing half a second back at the chequered flag. Michael Sweeney on the Kiely Heating Kawasaki was third seven tenths behind the Tobermore rider, with Stephen McKnight 16 seconds back in a brilliant fourth.
McLean led the Supersport race from the start until the red flags halted proceedings on lap four with the result declared.
McGee finished the opening lap in fourth, tussling with Sheils, Sweeney and Paul Jordan. By lap two he was third and a lap later was into second and had closed to a third of a second behind McLean when the race was stopped. Jordan was an excellent third, half a second behind McGee with Sheils fourth, Sweeney fifth and the Logan Yamaha of Neil Kernohan sixth.
McGee, who racked up his third win of the day in the Moto3 race, riding the ex-Niccolo Antonelli Grand Prix Honda said: "I'm delighted to get the season off to a start like that. A lot of people put a lot of hard work in behind the scenes and I had great bikes from Faraldo Racing, B&W Racing and CITP Doyne Racing."
In the Support races, Ballymoney rider Tommy Henry scored a terrific Senior victory on the O'Kane Yamaha, 10 seconds clear of Darren Keyes while Eoin O'Siochru from Shankill, Co. Dublin, picked up only his second ever road race win in the Junior class, two and a quarter seconds clear of Vinny Brennan.