John Burrows says 'much more to come' from Cookstown 100 winner Mike Browne
John Burrows believes Mike Browne has merely scratched the surface of his potential after the Republic of Ireland rider secured his first Irish road racing Superbike victory at the KDM Hire Cookstown 100.
Browne edged out home favourite Adam McLean (McAdoo Racing) on the final lap, judging his move to perfection when the race leaders encountered slower riders to snatch the lead.
The Cork dairy farmer also finished as the runner-up behind McLean in the Supersport race on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha, and won the Moto3 race around the 2.1-mile Orritor course on the Joey’s Bar Honda.
It was an impressive performance by Browne, who only had his first roads outing on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Armoy at the end of July.
Former racer Burrows has a proven track record of developing young up and coming talent after nurturing the careers of top riders in the past, including Dan Kneen, Jamie Hamilton, Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and Davey Todd, while multiple Irish champion Derek Sheils – already established a as a road racing frontrunner – flourished in the Dungannon-based team during a four-year association when he was signed by Burrows in 2016.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the Irish road racing calendar in 2020 and again in 2021, with only three races taking place during that time, but Burrows says Browne’s success at the Cookstown 100 at the weekend gave his team a much-needed boost after two trying seasons.
“Derek Sheils rode for me for four years and won a lot of National road races for us on the Suzuki GSX-R1000, but I didn’t expect Mike to be winning so soon for us in the Superbike class,” said Burrows.
“I knew he would do a good job for us one day, but for Mike to get a win as quickly as he has done underlines the potential he has.
“Granted, Derek Sheils and Derek McGee weren’t racing on Saturday, but the pace set by Mike and Adam McLean was high and they were 0.7s off the outright lap record, while Mike set the fastest lap in the race, which was just under a tenth slower than Derek Sheils’ fastest lap from 2020.
“So they were setting a good pace and Mike certainly earned his victory. It was a two-horse race after Michael Sweeney dropped back, which was no surprise given ‘Micko’ had a big crash earlier in the Supersport race,” Burrows added.
“But I’m just over the moon because we’ve had a difficult year and this has given everyone in the team a huge lift.”
Browne, who only made his debut for the respected Northern Ireland team at last September’s Cookstown 100, qualified second fastest in the Superbike and Supersport classes.
However, while Burrows expected the 31-year-old to be challenging at the front in the Supersport class, he admits he was pleasantly surprised by Browne’s performance on the Superbike.
“On Friday, Mike was feeling confident after qualifying second fastest in the Superbike and Supersport classes and he went out and delivered the goods,” he said.
“I probably expected his best chance to be in the Supersport race, but he surprised us with how quickly he has adapted to the Suzuki GSX-R1000. Mike feels at home on the bike and to be lapping close to Michael Dunlop’s outright lap record shows just how competitive the Suzuki is as an all-round package against rival machines from Kawasaki and BMW.
“We come away from Cookstown very pleased with the results and it’s a great way to end the season. Mike has shown his potential and I feel there is a lot more to come from him in the future.
“I want to say a special thanks to our title sponsor Charlotte Richardson of RK Racing for her support over this past couple of trying years, and indeed to all the team sponsors for sticking by us.”
Burrows’ 11-year-old son Jack was also racing at the weekend and claimed two solid fourth places in the FIM MiniGP Series at Athboy on the Ohvale, which the Dungannon schoolboy only rode for the first time at Mondello Park.
“Jack was also racing at the weekend at Athboy and it was a new track to him and only his second time on the Ohvale,” Burrows said.
“He had two fourths and then we had an engine problem in the third race, but Jack was progressing every time he went out on the bike and improving his team, so we’re happy enough with how it went.
“We have to remember it’s only Jack’s fifth ever race and we can’t be expecting too much, too soon, even though he has had success very early after winning first time out in the FIM MiniGP series at Mondello Park.”