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McLean nets impressive double as road racing makes return at Cookstown 100

Adam McLean

Home hero Adam McLean raced to a brilliant double at yesterday's KDM Hire Cookstown 100 as he returned to road racing after a 16-month break.

The Tobermore rider was ruled out for the 2019 season after crashing in the Supertwin race at the Tandragee 100 last May.

With the Covid-19 lockdown resulting in the cancellation of almost every Irish road race in 2020, McLean's absence from the sport proved much longer than he had anticipated.

However, the 24-year-old returned in style at his local race in Co Tyrone, where he secured victories for the Cookstown-based McAdoo Racing team in the Supersport 600 and Supertwin events.

McLean also finished fourth in the Open Superbike race, which was won by Derek Sheils from Wicklow on the Roadhouse Macau BMW.

He had crashed out of the initial race, forcing a red-flag stoppage.

McLean was able to take part in the reduced five-lap race after a second red-flag incident during the restart involving Stephen McKnight from Banbridge, who also escaped without serious injury.

"In a way the extra time helped me because the injury to my arm would have given me trouble had the season started as planned in March," said McLean, who has been competing in the British Superstock 600 Championship this year on the Binch Racing Yamaha.

"The surgeon ticked me off his list at the start of June and now the arm basically feels completely normal.

"It's been a long wait but the bike time I had under my belt at BSB has been a benefit and it's good to get some results for Winston and Jason (McAdoo)."

McLean won the seven-lap Supersport race by eight tenths of a second after leading throughout.

Ballymoney man Darryl Tweed, riding a Yamaha R6 for Stanley Stewart, clinched second place ahead of Paul Jordan (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha) after the pair were locked in a battle for the runner-up spot.

Cork's Mike Browne finished fourth on the second of the Burrows Racing Yamaha machines, while Skerries rider Michael Sweeney and Neil Kernohan from Ballymena followed.

Straight after the Supersport race, McLean was thrust back into action in the restarted Supertwin event and he dominated on the 650 McAdoo Kawasaki with a new lap record to win by almost four seconds from Tweed - also competing in the famous McAdoo colours in this class - who squeezed out Sweeney for the runner-up spot.

In the eagerly-awaited Open Superbike race, it was pole man Sheils who came out on top on his 1000cc BMW.

At the third attempt at running the race, Sheils seized the lead into Gortin corner and held sway until the chequered flag, eventually shaking off Sweeney (MJR BMW) to win by just over two seconds.

It was Sheils' sixth victory in the Open race, but he was denied the chance of a Superbike double later in the day when heavy rain forced the cancellation of the headline Cookstown 100 event.

Thomas Maxwell from Mullingar was third on his 1000cc Kawasaki ahead of McLean and Kernohan (Yamaha R1), with Browne sixth on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha.

Team-mate Jordan was left frustrated as he finished down in seventh place after dropping back at the beginning of the race on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

The Magherafelt rider won the earlier Moto3/125 race by 1.9 seconds from Nigel Moore.

The Senior Support race was won by Meath's Vinny Brennan, while Cork's Michael Gillian took the Junior Support honours.

Kernohan enjoyed a victory on his 250cc Honda in the Lightweight Supersport/250GP race, which was stopped on the final lap when Tweed crashed at Mackney's corner.

The event was held under strict Covid-19 protocols and is the only Irish road race to go ahead this year.

In England, the Gold Cup meeting concludes today at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough. Fermanagh's Lee Johnston will be gunning for his second victory in the race on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha.

Sunday Life