Ryan Farquhar says Derek McGee’s magnificent podium in Wednesday’s Bennetts Lightweight TT will serve as a springboard for the Mullingar rider’s career.
McGee clinched his maiden podium around the Mountain Course as he secured second place on the IEG/KMR Kawasaki behind Michael Dunlop on the Paton.
The 31-year-old’s rostrum made up for the disappointment of non-finishes for Danny Webb (broken clutch), David Johnson (broken fairing bracket) and Peter Hickman, who was forced out while holding third place at the start of the fourth and final lap.
McGee was the top TT newcomer in 2015 but this is only his third year at the event after he missed the festival last year due to financial constraints.
However, he more than made amends on the Kawasaki with a battling ride, which saw him dip inside James Hillier’s lap record from a standing start with a speed of 120.904mph, which he then upped to 121.698mph on lap two.
With early leader Ivan Lintin forced out at the end of the second lap, McGee moved into the lead from Dunlop as they set off on their third lap following a terrific pit stop by the KMR team.
He battled it out with Dunlop in the second part of the race but the Ballymoney rider had more in hand on the Italian Paton and blitzed the lap record on lap four, setting a new mark of 122.750mph as he pulled clear to win by 14.6 seconds.
Nonetheless, it was a magnificent result by McGee and team owner Farquhar, who won the inaugural Lightweight race in 2012, was full of praise for the southern Irishman.
“The result is unreal but I said at the North West 200 that Derek could have won there had it not been for bike trouble. We’ve had terrible issues all fortnight with the camshafts wearing out and at one stage I wasn’t sure if I’d have any bikes out on the grid.
“We had to do a lot of work to get them ready and whilst I’m gutted for Danny, Davo and, especially, Pete, I couldn’t be happier for Derek.
“He’s been riding brilliantly in all classes and I think a lot more people are going to be hearing about him in the future,” he added.
“He’s done a superb job so with his second place here and Jeremy McWilliams’ two runner-up spots at the North West 200, it’s nice to have our hard work rewarded.
“A massive thank you to all the team who have worked so hard and, of course, to all the sponsors who have made it all possible.”
McGee said he had been unsure what to expect this year after missing the event last year.
“Having missed a year, I wasn’t sure how this year’s TT would go for me but it’s been great so far and to be sitting here now as a podium finisher is simply brilliant,” said the Irish Supertwins champion.
“I’ve got to say a big thanks to Ryan and his team as they’ve been brilliant throughout.”