Ballymena rider Neil Kernohan has been little short of a revelation in the past season.
His record in local road racing has earned him accolade after accolade, culminating in the announcement that he has finished in 13th place overall, and is the top Newcomer, in the prestigious Duke Marketing road race championship.
Neil started racing on short circuits in 2012. He told me at that time: “The plan was never anything else other than to go into road racing.”
After completing his mandatory six short circuit meetings he was given an A licence, and competed in a couple of road races before the end of 2012.
In the season just finished, who Neil also tied up the Loanends Support Championship, has excelled at every track he has raced.
In the 25 round series, with rounds as far away as the Czech Republic and Macau, the local man took part in just 11 meetings. He has had five race wins and a further six podiums. His lowest finish was, in fact, tenth place. Add to this his six fastest laps and it’s not hard to see how he has had so much well deserved success.
Neil’s plans for 2015 will include an assault on the Manx Grand Prix.
“Bobby Logan has been with me since I started to race. The bikes stay at my house and all I have to do is tell him what I need and he sorts it out. He’s good that way.
“The team will, hopefully, be the same next year, with Davy and Stephen helping out with the spanners and all my sponsors staying with me.”
DAVE FOR DONARD
Sometimes my mouth gets me into dreadful trouble. I say things with little or no real thought.
Like at the Sunflower, when Dave Walsh stopped me and asked me if I’d ever climbed Slieve Donard.
“Aye, years ago,” I replied. “It wasn’t a mountain then, only a hill. It’s grown up.”
A smart man would have walked away, but smart is never something I can be blamed on being, which now means I have been cajoled into climbing Donard with Dave. His next task is making me believe he’s doing me a favour.
Dave plans to scale the mountain dressed in racing leathers, helmet, boots and gloves to raise money for the Injured Riders Welfare Fund.
The planned jaunt will be on Tuesday the 10th February, leaving Donard Car Park in Newcastle at 9.30am.
Anybody who would like to sponsor Dave can donate to his Pay Pal account, email@example.com or can visit www.injuredriderswelfarefund.org.uk and make a donation there.