Nico Mawhinney made a successful racing comeback following a serious crash at the North West 200 in May as he returned to the rostrum in Sunday’s Mondello Masters Superbike Championship meeting at Bishopscourt in Co Down.
The Castledawson rider was badly hurt when he crashed during practice at the notorious Mill Road roundabout as he made his debut at the international road race three months ago.
Mawhinney secured a late entry for the Masters round at Bishopscourt and was boosted with a strong ride to third place in the opening Superbike race, which was won by Robert English on the IFS Ducati from Randalstown’s Gerard Kinghan.
“I’m feeling sore now and I’m really stiff more than anything.
“Going into the corners I was riding up the back of the guys in front of me and they were holding me up a bit.
“It was a weird day because I knew I could go faster but I hadn’t the strength,” Mawhinney said.
“I was really only out there for a run out for the first time since my crash at the North West and I was just trying to be as smooth as I could.
“I just wanted to get back on a bike because I’m doing a British Thundersport round next week at Anglesey and I used the Masters today as a bit of a test.
“It was good to get on the podium again in the first race but I was disappointed in the second race because I couldn’t carry my corner speed.
“It was down to fitness more than anything and it was a bit of a killer,” he added.
“I’ve got myself a personal trainer who’s been working with me to get me back to fitness and I’ve been happy with that and I’m really looking towards next year.
“After Anglesey, I might do the Davy Wood Memorial race in September and then after that I plan to do another Thundersport round at Donington.
“I’ve got the Sunflower Trophy lined up as well and I’ve been offered a decent bike, but I just have to firm up a deal.
“You need a competitive bike for the Sunflower so I hope I can get back to decent fitness.”
Antrim’s Nikki Coates, who was penalised for jumping the start in the first Superbike race, made amends as he won the second race from English.
Kinghan claimed the final place on the rostrum ahead of Mawhinney.
Jason Lynn bagged a superb double in the Supersport races on the Walter Bell Suzuki.
Bishopscourt was hosting the penultimate round of the Masters series, which concludes in October at Mondello Park.
Bangor rider English and Coates are locked in battle for the Superbike crown and a thrilling finale is in store.
Sadly, the Norman Brown Trophy race had to be cancelled yesterday due to torrential rain in the afternoon.
Race Director Roy Biggerstaff said: “It was unfortunate, but we had to call off the Norman Brown race in the interests of safety.
“We had a few incidents but nothing serious and the event went smoothly all things considered.
“ It was our first time hosting the Masters championship on a Sunday and I think it was a success going by the crowds that turned out. Everything went well.”