To those that said it Couldnt Happen!

The 2020 Irish road race season, started and finished on Saturday 12th September!. The 2020 KDM Hire Cookstown 100, was and will be the Only road race in Ireland this year. Back in March, amidst the looming COVID19 Crisis, The organizing club took the bold move to cancel their meeting in April, and postpone until September. Many criticised their decision, including the President of the governing body, the MCUI ( Motor Cycle Union of Ireland). Only a couple of weeks prior the event, another spanner was thrown into the works, when a statement released by the MCUI, asking them to rethink their plans, and cancel the event, however, the Chairman of the MCUI (UC) John McClure, quickly released a statement, that this Statement had been released WITHOUT his knowledge!, Proving again, there were cohorts within the governing body determined to stop the event!. The big question asked by many, What is going on with the Governing body? are they supportive of the clubs involved, or, do they wish to be seen to say as they wish? Certainly, BIG changes need to be made, if our sport is to continue to flourish. Last weekends meeting proved just how hard the Cookstown & District Motor Cycle Club worked, despite the additional workload put upon them. There was so much more than the usual pre-event work, There were many meetings with Sport NI, Scientific experts, Experts with the knowledge of the ongoing COVID19 Situation, so, despite negative chat on social media etc, the club KNEW what was achievable and what they had to do! The result of their hard work was the proof of an excellent two days of action, and thankfully, only a couple of incidents. As buses chauffeured the limited number of spectators to their designated viewing areas, one could feel the excitement in the atmosphere, and the anticipation,as the crowds took to the places in the soft and recently rain washed hedges, “Real Road Racing Fans, I call them!” Prepaid wristbands did away with the need for the need of volunteers at road ends, and also took away the handling of cash. The prepaid system is certainly the way forward, and something, that other clubs should look at, if to save the future of road racing, with the wristbands selling out quite quickly, it proved that the REAL ROAD RACE FANS, do not have a problem with paying in! //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// McLean is Man of the Meeting, as Sheils nears lap record. What a return to road racing for McAdoo Racings Adam McLean, injured at the Tandragee in 2019, McLean who has been building up to this event by competing in the British 600 stock championship, scored a double in the 600 and super twin races, and for good measure, a new lap record in the super twins class! Despite a tumble on the opening lap of the Superbike race, he was able to restart and took 4th place. Surprize entry Derek Sheils took his 6th superbike win over the Orrittttor circuit when he won the open class, and on his final lap, just missing out on breaking the lap record. Following practices on Friday, Saturday's proceedings began with a minutes silence, remembering Mr Raymond Turkington, who was the President of the Club, and a leading light in activities in the 80s, this was followed by another minutes silence for victims of the Corona Virus. Following a restart when John Cahill slipped of at Braeside corner, it was last years Junior support champion,Vinny Brennan who took the honours from Paul Swords, with circuit newcomer Keelim Ryan excelling in third spot. Another newcomer, Scotlands Ryan Whitehall was 4th ahead of Liam Trainor and Jon O Donovan. Paul Jordan brought his 125 honda out of retirement to take victory in the Moto 3 class, less then 2 seconds adrift was Nigel Moore with Graham Kennedy third, having his first outing on a 125 machine. Run concurrently was the supersport 300 class, where Linton Irwin and RJ Woolsley had a race long dice, with Irin taking the flag, with a new lap record going to Woolsley. The 600 race saw McLean grab the holeshot and lead into Gortin corner, a lead he never relinquished for the duration of the race. Hot on his heels was Darryl Tweed, who set the fastest lap on his first outing on Stanley Stewarts Yamaha, with Paul Jordan third on his first race with RK Racing, Cork rider,Mike Browne, also having his first outing with John Burrows team, took 4th ahead of Michael “ Micko” Sweeney, and the colourful Neil Kernohan completing the top 6. Cookstown's Dean Campbell was an impressive 9th ahead of Carl Philips, with Dermot Cleary having his first outing with the national class in 12th, and despite not being on a bike from the end of last season, Paul Cranston took 14th. There was double delight for local team owner, Winston & Jason McAdoo when Their two riders took first and second in the super twin's race. McLean led from start to finish, but for Tweed, he only got his first run on the bike on Friday, it was an impeccable performance, as he held off Michael Sweeney for the second spot, with the top six completed by Stephen McKnight, Vinny Brennan and Mark Johnston. For Winston, a long time supporter of road racing, to see his two machines take the first two places, along with a new lap record, on a circuit which runs past his door, must be a moment to cherish. Corks Mick Gillan took the Junior support honours from Mark Johnson, with fellow Cork rider, Anthony Lillis in the third spot. Aaron Hatch, Dave Walsh and John O Donovan completed the top 6. For Bangors Matt Donaldson, from four attempts at the Cookstown 100, one could have forgiven him for throwing in the towel after practices!, Over the 4 years he started, he never got to complete a racing lap!but he persevered, and on Friday, his gear lever sheared off, so he returned home, to make repairs, got his five laps in before racing, and started at the back of the grid for the non-qualifiers race, despite it starting to rain, Matt pulled out all stops to take a well-deserved win, there was a great scrap for second with Andy Lock getting the nod from Andy Whale, and Russias Danila Krasnuick just missing out on a podium finish. Barry Davison, once again showed why he is the master of the Classic scene, despite coming under pressure from mark Johnston in 350 class and likewise with Richard Ford in the senior class, Davison made it win number 86, by taking a well deserved double. Speeds were down, due to the rain coming on, For Johnston, this was an impressive performance, proving that his results at Kirkistown weren’t a fluke! Richard Ford took the honours in the 1000 class from newcomers, Andy Hornby and Dave Bradley, both on beautiful sounding Rob North Triumphs. In the 500 class, Johnston was second with Wattie Brown third. In the 250 and 350 classes, held earlier in the day, when roads were dry, it was Richard Ford who topped the 250 class from Philip Shaw, with Nigel Moore getting the better of a race-long duel with Gary Hutton for third sport, on their lovely sounding Hondas. Trevor Stewart was a non-starter, following trouble on the warm-up lap. The 350 race was a cracker, between Davison, and Johnston. It wasn’t until the final lap that Davison managed to shake off the close attentions of Johnston to win by 3 seconds. Neil Kernohan on bard the Logan Honda, showed scant regard for the wet conditions as he led the lightweight race from start to finish, keeping him in his sight was best of the 400 runners, Darryl Tweed, until the last lap when the back end of Tweeds machine appeared to break away on entry to Mackney corner, and down he went, the race was stopped, and Tweed received medical attention. Steohen Tobin took second from the ever popular Sticker Bomber,Shaun Wynne and Ryan Whitehall. The Open race was the only time spectators got to see the big bikes in action ( except for a five-lap practice prior to the start of racing). With the last race of the day called off for safety reasons, Derek Sheils can reflect on the fact, that he is the fastest rider of the 2020 road race season. The Dublin rider, on board the Roadhouse Macau BMW, Showed just why he is the best superbike road racer in Ireland, along with arch-rival, skerries rider Michael Micko Sweeney, also BMW mounted, this duo were never separated by more than half a bikes length, until the final lap, when Sheils ramped up the power, to win by 2 seconds, and with it, almost breaking the absolute lap record! This race was started three times!, first time, Adam McLean dropped the McAdoo Kawasaki at Mackney, in the restart, Stephen McKnight did likewise, at the next corner! With another restart, McLean was able to get his bike, quick repairs, and make the grid. The Sheils/Sweeney BMW roadshow was a sight to behold around the Orittor circuit, as they raced nose to tail, something the riad race fans have been deprived of this year, that was, until the final lap when Sheils turned up the wick to take the win. In a lonely third, but nevertheless, an impressive performance for Thomas Maxwell, who was knocking on the door during the 2019 season. McLean recovered to take 4th ahead of 250 winner Kernohan, with the best of the 600 runners, Mike Browne competing the top 6 ahead of his teammate Paul Jordan, who had been running in 4th spot in the early stages. Richard Charlton returned to Cookstown and was well pleased with his 8th place finish ahead of Cookstowns Dean Caampbell, and former TT winner, Rob Barber taking his Yamaha home in 10th place. Third best of the 600s, was long time camoaigner, evergreen Paul Cranston, with Dermot Cleary in 15th ahead of Tobin and Andy McAlister. Statement from Cookstown & District Club Chairman, John Dillon; Firstly as chairman of the Cookstown club, I am happy, relieved and extremely proud that we have managed to run the only road race in 2020 in such trying times!! To all that doubted, tried to stop the event from happening and give the club total lack of respect by comments and grief throughout the last 4 months, perhaps now you realise that when the club took the advice and guidance from the actual experts and scientific officer and co for months, we knew what was achievable from day one rather than some within the MCUI both North and South and other within the public who only thought they knew best!! But more importantly... I would like to thank our sponsors, residents on the course, ALL officials, marshals, Flag marshals, Timekeepers, race office personnel, course set up team, welfare and Safeguarding, Stewards, grid personnel, the girls on the start-finish line keeping us right, Raynet, St John's ambulance, all club members, security & PSNI ( done a great job) travelling marshals, paramedic and our fabulous MCUI Medical team. The list is endless so I thank each and every one of you all who helped in any small way to make this event possible, please don't take offence if I have mentioned you as the list goes on and on!! Thanks to Francis for his running of the event, everything ran smoothly so it's half the battle!! A massive thank you has to go out to the Spectators and competitors who followed all guidelines and made the event so much easier to run when we didn't have to stress by seeing everyone behaving so well, thank you all so much!!!! To the competitors, a big thank you for putting on a great show and attending the event!! Best wishes to the 2/3 guys with minor injuries!! Although I made the call to cancel the remaining race of the day for the safety of the guys who would have been out, we can be happy that we all were treated to some excellent racing and entertainment from all the competitors as always!! Finally, can I send our best wish to our Chaplin Mr Noel Agnew, we all hope to see you back with us very soon!! Thank you to every one of you who attended this weekend, we may have just helped keep our sport alive between us all!!! John Dillon Club Chairman A special presentation took place before racing started, where former Clerk of the Course, George Young was presented with a beautiful piece of Crystal, as a token of thanks for all the hard work he has put in over the Years, well deserved George Dedication! Proving just what the thrill of road racing is all about, Tiwans Roger Chen, made the long trip from his hometown in Taipei, arriving in time to isolate, before coming to Cookstown to compete in the Classic race, unfortunately, he had a troubled practice, but Thanks to being allowed out in morning practice sessions, he got to start his race, unfortunately for Roger, the rain had come on by this stage, but nevertheless, our happy visitor, who returned home yesterday finished 5th.

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