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Tramore's McCormack is Irish Superbike champion

WATERFORD this week has a brand new Irish champion in its number as last Sunday Tramore's Brian McCormack was crowned as the new Irish Superbike Champion, for the first time in his young career.

Indeed not only is that a wonderful achievement in its own right but it is even better when one considers that in the process Brian has become the first rider from the Republic of Ireland to lift this highly prestigious title since 2003 - when the winner was also a Waterford man - Hilton Hincks, who is now a sponsor and mentor of Brian's.

The Irish National Superbike Championship is run over eight rounds with two races in each round. Points are awarded for where you finish in each race and at the end of the eight rounds the champion is crowned.

Brian has competed in this championship, as well as the British Superbikes Championship, for the last number of years, and it all started well for the young Tramore man when he won two of the early races and was sitting pretty on top of the championship table going into the third series of races in Mondello Park - when this tough sport came back to bite him.

He took a crashing fall in which he sustained a broken collar bone, a broken heel and severe ligament damage. Amazingly he went out again in the next race in the same weekend but felt his should pop out and only then did he give in to the injury and was forced to spend a spell on the sidelines that ensured that he missed three rounds of the championship and lose his ranking at the top of the leaderboard.

This all meant that with just four rounds of the championship to go, Brian trailed his biggest rival, Denver Robb, by 15 points in the race for the championship.

But once back in action Brian hit back with a race win and a couple of top three finishes to claim back the initiative entering the final weekend of races, at the biggest round of the championship, Bishopscourt in County Down.

CHAMPIONSHIP LANDED

In race one of the final round, Brian finished two places ahead of Robb, which meant that a comfortable tenth place finish in the final race was enough for him to be crowned Irish champion for the first time.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have won the title. It's a great honour and hopefully now that I have this title under my belt that it will open doors for me with regards to sponsorship and hopefully we can really have a right go at the British Superbikes Championship next season," said a delighted Brian McCormack.

So what's the plan now for the rest of 2008?

"Well I have received a lot of offers to do different things, including lots of offers to go into Moto-cross for the winter but I think I'm just going to take it easy and get some surgery on my shoulder in order to be right for January when we will be back testing in Spain ahead of the new British Superbikes Championship which gets underway again next March in Brands Hatch," said Brian.

Of course Brian wouldn't be able to win the Irish title were it not for the huge support that he gets from his sponsors and his team, including Willie Bolster and the Bolster Group, HB Motorcycles, J Tech Sports, Lining Technology, Sign Systems, McCormack Hardware, Mark O'Brien, Brian McLuskey, Barrett Chapman, his mechanic, Andy Grimshaw and brother Aidan and of course the rest of the McCormack family