This year’s Irish Road racing season got underway today with qualifying for the Cookstown 100 and Derek McGee proved to the fastest starter, nabbing pole for both the Superbike and Moto3 races.
The 2017 Irish superbike champion Derek McGee started his campaign to retain his title in style setting the fastest time around the 2.1-mile Orritor circuit on the outskirts of Cookstown.
Michael Sweeney will start second on the grid and Michael Dunlop on his first roads outing since signing for Tyco BMW in third with less than half a second splitting the top three.
Derek Sheils, who has dominated the event for the past couple of years, qualified in 12th place after a blown engine meant he had to use on his supersport machine.
Sheils made up for his disappointing Superbike session by setting the fastest lap in the 600 class with just 0.095s between him and up-and-coming talent Adam McLean with McGee a further 0.2 sec behind in third.
Mclean and James Cowton both broke the lap record in the Supertwin session while Joseph Loughlin was 3rd quickest.
There was three races scheduled for Friday evening, but only the Senior Support race took place, won by Tommy Henry. The other two races were cancelled after a red flag in the invitation Supersport race when Mike Norbury slipped off, and the organisers deemed it too dangerous as the low sun was affecting riders’ visibility at the back of the circuit.