McLean was ruled out for the 2019 season when he crashed in the Supertwin race at the Tandragee 100, while the coronavirus pandemic this year ensured the Tobermore man faced a much longer wait for the opportunity to race again between the hedges.
The McAdoo Racing rider has been competing in the National Superstock 600 Championship in England on a Yamaha for Binch Racing, but McLean finally returned to action for Winston and Jason McAdoo’s family-run outfit at their home event in County Tyrone.
On an eventful day, McLean won the Supersport race and followed up immediately afterwards with his second victory in the Supertwin race.
He later crashed out on the first lap of the Open A Superbike race, forcing a red flag, but McLean was able to participate in the race after it was stopped for a second time when Stephen McKnight crashed out, also without serious injury.
Held over a reduced distance of five laps, the race was won by Derek Sheils on the Roadhouse Macau BMW from Michael Sweeney and Thomas Maxwell, with McLean coming home in fourth.
Reflecting on his crash, McLean told the News Letter: “Fortunately I had no issues at all and the bike just spat me over front coming out of Mackney’s, but there was no damage done.
“We had changed the map on the ZX-10 from Friday night and there was just no power from zero to 10 per-cent throttle, so as soon as I twisted the throttle, the power came in with a bang and at those wee road ends it’s enough to spit you off.
“But up until then we were having a good day with a win on the 600 and the Supertwin, and a new lap record on the twin as well, so I couldn’t have asked for anything better and I definitely enjoyed it,” he added.
“In the 600 race, I had a bit left in reserve if I needed it so I just controlled the pace and did what I had to do to get that win.
“The Supertwin is a brilliant bike but I missed my apexes a couple of times on the first few laps and it took me a while to get dialled in on it again, but once we got going I was enjoying riding it and we took 0.7s off the lap record, so I was happy with that.”
The feature Cookstown 100 Superbike race was cancelled as heavy rain lashed the 2.1-mile Orritor course later in the afternoon and McLean said the organisers made the right decision.
“They made the right call not to run the last Superbike race,” he said.
“If the rain had stopped and the roads were just wet then it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it was continuing to rain and it was getting to the stage where you had standing water on the circuit, which brings a risk of aquaplaning.”
In the seven-lap Supersport race, pole man McLean led all the way and was able to control the pace from the front.
Behind him, a battle developed behind him for the runner-up spot between Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan – making his roads debut on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha – and Darryl Tweed from Ballymoney.
Jordan had the edge until lap five, when Tweed moved into second place on Stanley Stewart’s Yamaha R6.
There was little between them over the final two laps, but it was a delighted Tweed who narrowly held on to seal the runner-up spot, coming home 0.8s behind race winner McLean.
Mike Browne finished a solid fourth on the second of the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha machines, while the top six was completed by Michael Sweeney (CM Building Yamaha) and Neil Kernohan (Yamaha).
The Supertwin race was restarted over six laps following a non-serious accident and McLean immediately took the lead.
He pulled away from Tweed, also riding a 650 Kawasaki for the McAdoo team, and Sweeney, who were battling for second place.
In a straightforward victory, McLean crossed the line to win by 3.7 seconds, with Tweed holding Sweeney at bay to take the runner-up spot.
Stephen McKnight from Banbridge was a long way back in fourth position on his 650 Suzuki.
Vinny Brennan from Meath and Cork man Michael Gillan were the respective winners of the Senior and Junior Support races, while Jordan triumphed in the Moto3/125 race by 1.9 seconds from the evergreen Nigel Moore.
Neil Kernohan won the Lightweight Supersport/250GP race overall on the 250cc Logan Honda, which was stopped on the final lap when Tweed crashed out on his 400 Kawasaki (see separate story).
Barry Davidson won the Senior and Junior Classic races.
The Cookstown 100, postponed from April, is the only Irish road race to go ahead in 2020 following the impact of Covid-19.
* A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Irish and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. To subscribe, click here.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.