Young prospect Adam McLean will head to the Isle of Man TT buoyed by a fantastic performance at the Vauxhall International North West 200, where he finished fourth in Saturday’s Supersport race.
The Tobermore rider has been in terrific form this season and clinched his maiden victory in the Supersport class at National level at the Cookstown 100 last month, beating Derek McGee by 0.2 seconds in a thrilling finish.
Riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R this year supplied by Nick Morgan’s MSS Performance outfit, McLean has taken a step forward and proved he could back up his results at the National races with a magnificent ride on the big stage at the North West.
The 21-year-old was keeping esteemed company as he battled with eventual winner Alastair Seeley and the Dunlop brothers. He appeared on course for a sensational podium until he was overtaken by Isle of Man TT star Michael on the last lap, coming home in fourth ahead of Ian Hutchinson on the McAMS Yamaha.
McLean also finished sixth in the Supertwins race last Thursday evening, when he was denied fifth place after incurring a 10-second time penalty for overshooting at Mather’s on the Hanna Kawasaki.
The talented Ulster lad is going about his business quietly and McLean is now looking ahead to his TT bow when practice commences in just 11 days’ time.
“I could never have seen myself in the position I found myself in at the weekend,” said McLean.
“The MSS Kawasaki had a few wee issues in Thursday’s Supersport race, but we worked hard for that result on Saturday. The bike never missed a beat and the Metzeler Tyres were perfect.
“I tried my best to stay at the front with the leaders which I was able to do and at one point I thought I could make the podium.
“I could have tried to make a move on the last lap but I was getting so much experience riding behind Seeley and the Dunlops that I genuinely settled for where I was,” he added.
“I would have gained nothing by going up a slip-road, but I gained so much sitting in behind the podium runners.
“It was a dream come true to be in the mix and I know it will have given me so much more knowledge than I ever could have gained elsewhere.”
McLean has made a number of trips to the Isle of Man to familiarise himself with the Mountain Course and is now counting the days until he sets off down Bray Hill for the first time in anger.
“I’ve been over to the Isle of Man doing a lot of laps and I was starting to get a bit of an idea where I was going,” he said.
“You might remember a section of about three miles long and then it’s a blank for a while, but you pick it up in bits and pieces. I need to do some more work on the Mountain but so far I’m happy enough.
“It’s just all about learning the place and I’ll be going to the Classic TT as well this year because it’s a good chance to get more miles around the TT course and the more track time you get, the better.
“I’m riding a TZ250 Yamaha for Carl Roberts and a 500 BSA,” McLean said.
“For the likes of myself at this stage of my career, it’s important for me to get as many miles as I can and it means I’ll be going to the TT next year having done another week’s practice and racing.”
Practice is scheduled to get underway on Saturday, May 27.