THE 2015 Irish Road Racing Championship season kicked off with the Cookstown 100 and on local turf John Burrows and his Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing team enjoyed two well deserved trips to the Orritor Circuit's podium.
The team's rider, Jamie Hamilton, was very steady during Friday's qualifying and earned second, third and fifth places on the grids for the Supertwins, Supersport 600 and Superbike events, respectively.
Hamilton's best result of the day was third in the Supersport 600 Invitation race which was won by William Dunlop. In the Supersport Championship race, Hamilton was expecting another top three finish but unfortunately his Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing Honda was slightly off-song due to an overheating problem and he had to settle for fifth position in a race which brought another William Dunlop win.
Hamilton was not to be denied a second trip to the podium and he happily climbed the steps again after finishing third in the Supertwins race behind Michael Dunlop and Michael Sweeney.
The Superbike grids were littered with factory supported riders and bikes and it was BMW's Guy Martin who was doubly successful. Riding the rapid and new Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing Suzuki 1000, Hamilton finished sixth in the opening big bike encounter and improved to fifth in the feature Cookstown 100 race.
Team owner Burrows headed for his nearby home tired but content after the two days of action at a venue where he once claimed the Man of the Meeting award.
He said: "The Cookstown race, being the first road race of the year, is always tough, as it attracts a truly international line-up to a national event. Everyone wants to get their season off to a winning start. When you look at the line-ups for the races we have to be happy with two podium performances and five top six finishes.
"It was important to start building momentum towards the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT events and we have done that. We will now look forward to more of the same at the Tandragee 100 meeting next weekend."
Hamilton commented: "All three bikes were going really well, that was the most pleasing thing for me. When you look at the quality of the entry in all the classes I competed in, it would have been very easy to have left here without getting near to the podium so to have climbed the steps twice is satisfying. Onwards now to Tandragee where more podium finishes will be a must!"
Photo: Baylon McCaughey