Jamie Hamilton is hoping this weekend’s Bush Road Races in Co Tyrone will serve as a springboard for the remainder of the season.
For Hamilton, though, the script hasn’t panned out as expected and the reigning Irish Supersport and Supertwin champion remains without a victory so far this year, a statistic he is aiming to reverse on Saturday.
On his previous race at Bush in 2012 Hamilton sealed a strong runner-up finish behind Farquhar in the Supertwin race and took third in the Grand Final.
“I had some good results at Bush the last time it was held and it was my first ever podium at a national road race on a big bike,” Hamilton said.
“It’ll be the usual suspects this weekend with Dan Kneen, Michael Sweeney, Derek McGee and Derek Sheils but I think we’d be stupid not to think that the man to beat is Kneen.
“Someone’s going to have to stop him at some time, so we’ll keep trying. I’ll be out on the Superstock bike again at Bush and I haven’t rode the Superbike at a national road race since Cookstown. I felt I was losing out a bit on the straights at the likes of Tandragee and Kells, but for the first time I think Bush might be the place where I’ll have an advantage on the Superstock bike,” he added.
“Things haven’t gone how I wanted them to go this season after joining Wilson’s team and I’d say last weekend at Kells was the first time I came home with a smile on my face.
“It’s just taken time to gel a new team and new bikes and it’s been a bit of a disastrous start to the year. Hopefully now we can turn things around in the second part of the year and I feel like I’m getting closer to a win.”
Hamilton will also compete in the Supersport class on Craig’s 600cc Honda plus the Supertwin race on Robbie Silvester’s VRS Kawasaki.
Manxman Dan Kneen on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki is making his debut at Bush but that hasn’t stopped the Braddan man winning five out of six Superbike races on his maiden appearances at Cookstown, Tandragee and Kells, where he notched another double last Sunday.
In addition to Hamilton, Kneen’s opposition includes Mullingar’s Derek McGee, plus Derek Sheils from Dublin and Skerries rider Michael Sweeney.
The Bush meeting returns to the Irish road racing calendar after the event was cancelled last year due to a lack of finances combined with rising organisational costs.
Over 100 entries have been received with 40 newcomers confirmed by the organisers, including Connor Behan on the KMR SGS International Kawasaki machines, who won the Supertwin race at Kells.
The line-up also includes Seamus Elliott, Davy Morgan, Sam Dunlop, Czech rider Michal Dokoupil plus Nigel Moore and veteran Paul Cranston.
Practice is scheduled to get underway on Friday at 4pm, with roads re-opening no later than 9.30pm.
On Saturday, roads close at 10am sharp with the first race pencilled in for a 10.30am start.