Young prospect Adam McLean says he plans to take some time out of the sport in the wake of the recent tragedies that have left a dark cloud hanging over road racing.
Over the past 10 days, top Northern Ireland rider William Dunlop was killed at the Skerries 100, while McLean’s McAdoo Racing team-mate, James Cowton, died following a crash in the final race of the Southern 100 meeting on the Isle of Man last Thursday.
Young gun McLean, who joined Yorkshireman Cowton in the Cookstown-based team for 2018, was racing behind the 26-year-old when the fatal incident occurred at Stadium Bends on the Billown course.
He narrowly avoided being caught up in the aftermath, but Lincolnshire’s Ivan Lintin, plus Jamie Coward and Mickey Evans were brought down as a result.
Lintin was badly hurt and is said to be in a critical but stable condition in hospital, while Coward and Evans escaped serious injury.
McLean (22), was left badly shaken by the crash and admits he is unlikely to race again this year, although he doesn’t envisage walking away from road racing in the longer term.
“We have no plans at the moment to do any other races this year so maybe we will have a think over the winter and see what we are going to do,” he told the News Letter.
“These are dark days for the sport but it’s just hard to take everything in and you wonder where the future of the sport lies – I feel a bit lost at the minute.
“I think we’re allowed to feel emotional and even angry in a sense – it doesn’t mean you want road racing banned or that you don’t love the sport, but it leaves you questioning a lot of things.
“Sometimes you ask is it worth it and at the moment I’m just trying to take everything in.”
Recalling his near-miss in the fatal race at the Southern last week, McLean is counting his blessings that he managed to avert disaster.
“I was just behind James when the crash happened at the Southern 100. James was in front and Joey Thompson was ahead of me,” he said.
“I was eager to get past Joey because I could see James was getting away a bit but then he crashed and we just got through and no more.
“The riders behind obviously didn’t know what had happened and they came around and obviously they hit the debris in the road. It was a massive incident and fortunately I managed to get through somehow.”
The Ulster rider, who had become good friends with Cowton this year, says he has been having a hard look at his future in racing.
“I’ve worked hard all my life to get to a certain level in motorbike racing and I feel I’m just starting to get there, so what do you do? Do I just quit and let it go, or do I keep going.
“I highly doubt that I’ll retire from road racing completely, but I am having a think about things and asking myself a few questions.
“It will be unlikely that I’ll be out again this year because it has all just become a bit overwhelming.”