Young prospect Adam McLean dedicated his Supertwins victory at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix to the memory of tragic team-mate James Cowton.
McLean clinched his first major international triumph on Roy Hanna’s 650 Kawasaki after seeing off Christian Elkin in tricky conditions at rain-hit Dundrod.
The 22-year-old was left shaken by Yorkshireman Cowton’s death last month in a crash at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man.
McLean, who joined Cowton in Northern Ireland’s McAdoo Racing team this season, contemplated sitting out the Armoy and Ulster GP meetings following the tragedy.
However, he made a tentative return at an Ulster Superbike meeting at Bishopscourt in County Down last month and competed at Armoy after discussing his next move with the Cookstown-based McAdoo team.
On Thursday, McLean fulfilled the potential he has shown over the past few seasons as he wrapped up a popular win in the Supertwins race and finished as the runner-up in the Supersport event behind Manxman Conor Cummins.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “That was for my team-mate, James Cowton, who lost his life at the Southern 100 a few weeks ago.
“It’s nice to win my first international race and a massive thank-you to Roy Hanna, who has put hours and hours of work into this bike.”
Rain showers led to a long delay before racing commenced in the evening following final qualifying at Dundrod.
The Supersport race was red-flagged before being run later in a change to the planned schedule, with the Supertwins race brought forward instead as mixed conditions proved tricky for competitors.
With light fading, the Superbike race did not go ahead.
Ballymena’s Neil Kernohan won the Lightweight race while Christian Elkin was victorious in the Ultra-Lightweight class.