DUBBED ‘McFaster’ by Luke Johnston, Cullybackey’s Dean McMaster, a student at Ballymena Tech, is in the enviable position of having his bike sitting ready for the 2013 race season to start.
“If the MCUI would just get themselves sorted and tell the riders whats happening with championships and stuff. I don’t know if I’m going to be racing in the National or the Cup championship,” he told me last Saturday evening.
“It’s a ridiculous way to run things. I mean, they said in the middle of the year that they were going to make this big announcement in September and there’s not been a word.”
Dean started racing, in 2001, as so many of our tops riders have, in the Minimoto championship. He soon outgrew that.
“I had a lot of fun and met some great people racing at minimotos, but I just got too big.” The decision was made to step up onto ‘real’ bikes for 2009. “I raced a 125 Aprilia for a year. That was long enough.” he laughed.
An FZR400 Yamaha was sourced for 2010 and, as Dean says: “If nothing else I got fit pushing it back to the paddock!”
I checked my files and in 2010 the youngster’s results would have made many a lesser rider retire. Out of 21 races he DNF’d in 15. He finished the year in 23rd in the championship, with a best result of 8th, at Kirkistown in September.
Against advice Dean and his dad Colin decided to keep the FZR for 2011. “It just didn’t happen for us in 2011. I went to the first round of the Masters at Mondello and fell off. Then at Bishopscourt on Easter Saturday I blew the engine to bits. “At that stage I had been advised that even if it meant wrecking the bike to get the Triumph I wanted so be it, and that I was daft to spend another penny on it. That’s exactly what I did. We got the engine sorted for Kirkistown in July and I crashed and completely demolished it.” Little did Colin and Dean know at the time, but that probably did them a favour.
For the start of 2012 they bought a 675 Triumph form Manxman Kevin Cringle. They raced it pretty much as they bought it at the start of the year.
As the season went on, and Dean started riding it that bit harder, it became apparent that the bike needed a bit of work, and it was left to Leo at NM Tuning, who, by some very simple modifications, gained them 7bhp by doing little more than remapping the electronics and setting the engine up.
“The electronics had been set up for the TT circuit and it just needed sorted properly for our short circuits,” said Colin, “2012 was meant to be a learning year for him but he’s ridden far better than we could have hoped for.”
So what of 2013? “We are keeping the same bike. Christian Elkin done a lot of work with us last year and hopefully he’s going to do the same next. Everytime we raced it was back to his place for a wee check over. He’s brilliant with them and he’s been brilliant with us. He really knows his stuff,” said Dean.
Colin went on: “At the start of last year Dean was just able to scrape onto the grid at Bishopscourt in 35th place. Now he’s in the top 8 or 10 handy, so he’s going the right way.”
Before the lads left they asked if I would thank Leo, from NM Tuning; Christian Elkin at Elkimoto; Ivan McKillop; Cadence Race Suspension; Ronnie from the Fairhill Bar in Ahoghill and Adrian at Fluorescents Plus in Ballymena. Also thanks to Wilson Lynn and Barry, Hazel and Luke Johnston for all their help at the meetings over the year.
Anyone else who would like to throw in their lot with a young local lad whos destined for bigger and better things can contact Colin at 07783 387227.
A couple of weeks ago in the Times, we had a competition for the latest DVD from Waldovision, Joey, Ray and Rivals. The winner was Jeff Robinson, from Connor. Well done to him.