Derek McGee has been ruled out for the remainder of the season following a crash during qualifying at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix last Thursday.
The Mullingar man came off at Lougher’s after Ballymoney’s Seamus Elliott crashed in front of him.
McGee ploughed into debris strewn across the course and went down, sustaining a number of broken bones.
He had clinched pole for the Supertwins class on Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki with a lap of 118.580mph and was also top of the times for the Ultra-Lightweight races on the Joey’s Bar Moto3 Honda.
He was equally impressive in the Supersport class, setting the fourth fastest time in the first session on the B&W/Lady B Kawasaki.
The multiple Irish champion arrived at Dundrod in a rich vein of form after chalking up 14 Irish National victories since the Isle of Man TT, where he claimed the runner-up spot in the Lightweight race on the KMR Kawasaki.
Ex-racer Ryan Farquhar, KMR Kawasaki team owner, said the incident had come as a huge setback with McGee currently in ‘superb form’.
“Everything was looking really good for Derek in the Supertwins class and he was flying in qualifying, taking pole position by a commanding margin which put him in great shape ahead of the two races where we were feeling confident of taking a win or two,” he said.
“The problem we had earlier in the season with the camshafts had been successfully rectified and with numerous wins at the National road races, Derek’s form was simply superb, not just on the KMR Kawasaki but on all of his own bikes too.
“He was running in the top six in qualifying for every class at the Ulster Grand Prix and was set for an excellent meeting but, unfortunately, Seamus Elliott crashed in front of him during qualifying for the Superbike class and with all the protective barriers dragged into the road, Derek was unable to avoid them,” Farquhar added.
“It was a high-speed crash and he was sliding down the road only to be hit by his own bike, which caused the majority of the injuries. It’s such a shame as Derek has had a great season and our thoughts are very much with him as we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Farquhar revealed that Jeremy McWilliams may compete at the Sunflower Trophy meeting at Bishopscourt in October with the aim of trying out some new parts for 2019.
“We’d hoped to try some 2019 parts on the bike at Killalane but that may now happen at the Sunflower Trophy meeting with Jeremy McWilliams on board instead although, like I say, our immediate thoughts are with Derek.
“On the plus side, he’s done a great job for the team this year, taking second at the TT and winning the Irish road race championship, so a big thank you to all our sponsors for making it all possible.
“All being well, we’ll be back in 2019 to run a similar programme of meetings.”
McGee has wrapped up the Irish Superbike and Supertwins titles ahead of the final round at the East Coast Festival meeting at Killalane in September.