Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton has been pushing himself to the limit in the gym as he prepares for the physical and mental demands of another arduous season between the hedges.
Hamilton, though, also has an extra incentive to boost his fitness levels after organising a charity boxing match in aid of Fibromyalgia NI.
The illness is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and Jamie has witnessed first hand the effects of the disorder, which his mum, Helen, suffers from.
The young roads hopeful will box three one-and-a-half minute rounds at Dungannon Leisure Centre on Saturday night, where Bush kickboxer Mark Kerr will take on Frenchman Romain Berenger for the European Middleweight title on a thrilling night of kickboxing action.
As part of his training Hamilton, who turns 23 next month, also spent an evening at former world champion boxer Brian Magee’s new gym in Belfast, where he underwent a rigorous fitness test along with kickboxing star Kerr.
“My mum has fibromyalgia and it’s a chance for me to raise some money for the charity and also to improve my own fitness for the racing season,” Hamilton told the News Letter.
“I raised some money as well last year for the charity and I felt I wanted to do the same again. I’ve been in full-time training since the beginning of December, doing bits and pieces of circuit training plus I’ve been doing boxing training three days a week in Dungannon.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve bulked up, I’ve lost a bit of body fat though and tightened everything up really. I’m a lot leaner than I was before.
“We had a good night at Brian Magee’s gym in Belfast and the whole idea of going there was for a fitness test ahead of the fight,” added Hamilton, who has undertaken the majority of his training at Dungannon Kickboxing Club.
“Brian gave us a bit of tuition during the session and it was good to use the facilities there.”
Strength and endurance in particular are essential attributes in road racing and Hamilton explained the additional gym work he has engaged in is a key element of his development on the biggest capacity Superbike machines, especially at the Isle of Man TT.
“Fitness is a massive part of road racing and every time you talk to a racer you hear stories of what they’re doing for their training. It’s becoming more and more crucial and obviously when you’re riding Superbikes you need to be in top form and your brain needs to be reacting fast as well,” he said.
“I’m naturally quite big in my upper body and you need a bit of strength for throwing a Superbike around, but stamina is very important, especially when you think that you’re on a bike for an hour and a half at the TT.”
Hamilton won the Irish road racing Supersport and Supertwin titles in 2013. He parted company from Ryan Farquhar’s team and will ride a Kawasaki ER6 for Stewart Smith this year plus a 600cc Kawasaki ZX-6R for John Duggan.
The former British Superstock 600 champion is also close to securing a Superbike deal, with an announcement expected soon.
Doors open at 6.30pm on Saturday night for the festival of kickboxing. Tickets (£10) are available at Dungannon Leisure Centre.