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McLean on right road for Cookstown success as road racing prepares for post-lockdown return

 

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In front: Adam McLean leads the way in the Supersport race at last year’s Cookstown 100

In front: Adam McLean leads the way in the Supersport race at last year’s Cookstown 100

In front: Adam McLean leads the way in the Supersport race at last year’s Cookstown 100

The KDM Cookstown 100 will be under the microscope this weekend as the only Irish road race to survive the Covid-19 pandemic takes place around the two-mile Orritor Circuit.

This won't be the Cookstown 100 as we know it, however, as guidelines - set out by various bodies - must be adhered to. Just 1,000 pre-booked fans are allowed tomorrow, with 1,500 on Saturday, and they all have to remain in designated areas.

The numbers of competitors, officials, media and marshals have also been limited, with strictly no public admittance to the race paddock other than competitors and two mechanics/helpers per rider.

There will also be a reduced race programme on Saturday with just 12 races.

Practice is scheduled from tomorrow with roads closing between 12pm and 9.30pm and on race day Saturday between 10am and 7.30pm.

One of the favourites for success on Saturday will be Adam McLean. He is riding for McAdoo Kawasaki, who are based a stone's throw from the circuit.

For McLean, this will be his first road race since he suffered a nasty arm injury at last year's Tandragee 100, but the Tobermore rider has fully recovered and recently been competing in the British Superstock 600cc Championship on a Binch Yamaha. He will arrive at Cookstown with plenty of track time under his belt.

In fact, he raced at Silverstone last Sunday before travelling to Snetterton where he tested his McAdoo machines on Tuesday. Having won races in each of the last three years at Cookstown, his confidence will be high.

Dungannon-based Burrows Engineering-RK Racing riders Paul Jordan, from nearby Magherafelt, and Mike Browne, from Cork, should certainly give McLean a run for his money on Supersport Yamahas and Superbike/Superstock Suzukis.

Browne has been showing great potential on the roads, winning the final Supersport race of 2019 at Killalane, but hasn't ridden a 'big bike' between the hedges before.

Jordan is an international road race winner, taking a 2019 Supertwin victory at the Ulster Grand Prix and could well do so at Cookstown come Saturday.

Michael Sweeney, from Skerries, is a 2019 Supertwin and Supersport Irish road race champion and has the pedigree to upset the local riders this weekend.

Other riders to watch this weekend are Ballymoney's Darryl Tweed, Neil Kernohan, Thomas Maxwell, Stephen McKnight, Barry Davidson in the Classic races and 2019 Senior road race support champion Tommy Henry.

Among the newcomers will be Ulster Superbike short circuit champion Carl Phillips, who competes in Senior Support, Supersport and Supertwins.

Derek McGee, a treble winner last year, is a definite non-starter while eight-time Cookstown 100 winner Derek Sheils cannot confirm whether he will be on the grid after a dispute over his entry. Current lap record holder Michael Dunlop (91.48mph, set in 2013) also hasn't confirmed whether he plans to race.

Meanwhile, the Scarborough Gold Cup meeting takes place at Oliver's Mount this weekend where Lee Johnston, Dean Harrison, Jamie Coward, James Hind, Tom Weeden, Joey Thompson and Dominic Herbertson head the Supersport entry.

Belfast Telegraph