Local riders get some vital track time under their belts

Cullybackey's Dean McMaster returned from serious injury on Saturday. Picture: Roy Adams.
Cullybackey's Dean McMaster returned from serious injury on Saturday. Picture: Roy Adams.

Local riders were among the racers who took part in last weekend’s first test session at Bishopcourt.

There were quite a few riders out on new bikes, including Derek McGee, who took Noel Henderson’s BMW round for a few laps.

I do know that Derek will be concentrating on roads this year, but looking at some of the Superbike lads who were out, and watching their times, I think the ISB series will be one of the best in years. Both Ryan Rainey, the current champion, and his IFS team mate Robert English were running well, while Eoghan Delaney has a new ZX10.

Add to that men like Alistair Kirk, who had one hand on the ISB title last year before slipping off in the final race, Gerard Kinghan, who was also going well at Bishopscourt, David Haire, recently married Declan Hoey, Thomas O’Grady and a few others, and I can see the big bike racing being close.

There were a few local lads out on their Supersport bikes as well. Dundrods Robert Kennedy was well on the pace, as was Christian Elkin and Luke Johnston. Sporting a new colour scheme, Luke looked immaculate as always, and I don’t think will be too far away.

From Cullybackey, Dean McMaster was soon up top speed. On his race bike, officially, for the first time since he badly broke his leg at the start of 2014, it wasn’t too long before he was starting to use the full power of his Triumph 675.

Even though he still has a pronounced limp Dean was enjoying his track time, and hopefully the local lad will be back in the top half dozen before long.

We now have a couple of weeks of a break before the Mondello Masters and the ISB championships get under way, at the end of March.

NEW RULES

A new ruling from the MCUI for 2016. Riders are to wear all their racing equipment, ie leathers, helmet, gloves and boots to scrutineering, that they can all be checked.

Being honest, I’m surprised that this hasn’t been the case before now. It’s been done for years across the water and in the Isle of Man.

Another one is the ruling ref numbers. I can’t see that this is as much of an issue as they seem to be saying it is. Race numbers must be the right size, in the proper position on the bike and be of the correct font. They can’t argue that it’s for timekeepers because they have transponders to work from.

MID ANTRIM NEWS

The Mid Antrim club had a good weekend at the Ballymoney Bike show last Friday and Saturday. The club were able to get their message out, that the JMF Haulage backed meeting is nearly ready to go. The official launch will be in a couple of weeks and then it’s all go.

Donated by Patsy Tweed, the club raffled off a signed Ulster rugby shirt, won by Simon Bracewell. Well done to him, and thanks to Patsy, who is a long time supporter of the club and its meeting.