Ballymoney’s Darryl Tweed intends to seize his chance today at the Kells Road Races in Co Meath after being drafted into Northern Ireland’s Wilson Craig Racing Team.
Tweed rode a 600 Honda for Darren Gilpin’s outfit at the North West 200 when he was thrown a lifeline after his own machine expired during Tuesday practice, with the former Manx Grand Prix winner earning a solid top-15 finish in the first race.
He was also due to avail of an opportunity to ride a newly-built Honda Supersport machine for the team at the Isle of Man TT, but Tweed’s debut at the event was put on hold after he was unable to pull together the necessary funding.
However, with Yorkshireman Joey Thompson splitting from Wilson Craig Racing after disappointing results at the TT, Tweed has been brought into the team for the remainder of the season along with exciting French rider Pierre Yves Bian, who clinched a maiden victory at the North West 200 last month in the Supertwin class after Richard Cooper was excluded from the results.
Tweed will ride a CBR600RR Honda at Kells today, where the first road race in the Republic of Ireland is taking place since September 2019 after all national meetings in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.
“It was hard to miss out on the TT, but it’s onwards and upwards now,” said Tweed.
“When you’re given a good bike, it doesn’t take long to get used to it and they’re all a great bunch of lads in the team as well, so that makes things even easier. They’re very much like myself — they’re there because they enjoy going racing and the craic is good with them.
“Kells is an awesome track and it’s a great place for newcomers because there’s not much to it really, it’s pretty much three straights and four big jumps.
“The Wilson Craig Team hadn’t planned on doing Kells but Darren agreed to give me the 600 to get a run out. I’d say it’s been a long time since the Wilson Craig Team raced at Kells, it was probably 2014.
“I’ll get out in three races on the 600 Honda in the Open, Supersport and Grand Final races, plus I’ve a Kawasaki Supertwin with me as well, supplied by Rudi Paul from Ballymoney.”
Tweed was second fastest in Supersport qualifying yesterday at the Crossakiel circuit behind Skerries man Michael Sweeney, who also topped the times in the Superbike class on his MJR BMW.
Cork’s Mike Browne is a non-starter, with the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing rider opting to take a break this weekend after the TT, where he made his racing comeback only five weeks after breaking both ankles in a crash at the Cookstown 100.
Derek Sheils is also absent on the Roadhouse Macau BMW but is expected to take his place on the grid at the Skerries 100, the next Irish national road race on the calendar (July 2-3) after Kells.
Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan has also decided to sit out Kells but is among the entries for Skerries.
Roads close today from 8am with the first race at approximately 11am.
Meanwhile, Tobermore’s Adam McLean and the Cookstown-based McAdoo Racing team have parted company after five years together.
McLean was a shock withdrawal from the TT after a tough time at the NW200, and yesterday the McAdoo team confirmed both parties had gone their separate ways “with immediate effect”.