YOUNG road racing prospect Jamie Hamilton has told of his delight after he left the Isle of Man TT races with the coveted Best Newcomer award.
The 21-year-old from Ballyclare, a former British Superstock 600 champion, cut his teeth at the TT this year under the guidance of KMR Kawasaki’s Ryan Farquhar.
He joins an illustrious list of former winners of the accolade, including Cameron Donald (2005), Conor Cummins (2006), Steve Plater (2007), James Hillier (2008) and Simon Andrews (2011).
Hamilton lapped the unforgiving 37.73-mile Mountain circuit at 121.5mph on the KMR Kawasaki ZX-10R and finished a superb tenth in the inaugural Lightweight Supertwin TT on Saturday, which was won in dominant style by class pioneer Farquhar.
The young protégé suffered bitter disappointment in the Superbike and Superstock races after failing to finish on his Kawasaki ZX-10R due to unforeseen technical issues, but ended his maiden TT on a high in the Lightweight event.
In addition to the prestigious newcomer trophy, Hamilton was also rewarded for his efforts with a £7,000 Graham-London watch.
“It’s great to win the award and to get the Graham watch was a nice bonus as well,” he told News Letter Sport yesterday.
“It’s the most valuable thing I own!
“I was in really bad form by the time we got to Friday because I was so disappointed not to get a finish on the big bike.
“The battery terminal worked loose in one of the races and then we had a fuel pump issue in the second.
“They were just silly wee problems that only happen at the TT and it was no-one’s fault,” he added.
“Then we had a load of delays on Friday and I didn’t think we were going to get a race, so I was beginning to think I was going to be coming home without having finished a race at my first TT.
“I had a good practice week and I was really comfortable on the bike. I was feeling comfortable in the races too and I had paced myself so that I’d have something left in the tank for the final lap,” Hamilton said.
“But I never got that far in the end, so I was really pleased to finish the Lightweight race in tenth because that sort of made up for it.”
The promising Northern Ireland rider can reflect on a positive rookie year at the TT, but still has plenty on his plate as he prepares to compete in the remaining National road races this season plus the Southern 100 and Scarborough events along with the Ulster Grand Prix in August.
“I can’t complain because I lapped at 120mph in my first year, got a top ten finish and won the Best Newcomer award, so I can’t really ask for more.
“Before I went to the TT I loved road racing, but after the TT I’m in love with it even more and it’s made me more hungry for the rest of the year,” he said.
“My plan now is to do all the road races this year to learn them and build up my experience, so I’ll be at the Mid-Antrim this weekend for a start.”