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Podium finishes for Nathan on competitive comeback

Nathan Cairns impressed on his comeback after injury. Photo: Jimmy Graham

IF seeing Nathan Cairns back on the grid at Kirkistown on Saturday was a shock to some, his second and third placed GP125 results were even more astounding considering just seven weeks ago he shattered his shoulder in a crash at the opening round of the Mondello Masters.

Having undergone surgery to fix a plate and seven screws to what remained of the bone in his shoulder, Nathan then underwent a rigorous month-long rehabilitation programme with his physiotherapist and made several visits to an oxygen chamber in a bid to speed up his recovery.

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His hard work paid off as around five weeks after his accident, the 20-year-old Seskinore man was back on a bike at a track day and although he described the sensation of being back behind the handlebars as being a ‘bit weird’ he was soon back up to speed after just a couple of sessions.

That initial outing gave him the confidence to return to racing action at Kirkistown for round four of the Ulster Superbike Championship, which he was going to use as a ‘wee run out’ on his Cairns Racing machine to see how he’d get on.

Hence his surprise at achieving two podium places: “I wasn’t expecting to be back so quickly and I cold only have hoped to have done so well, I certainly didn’t think I’d do it,” he beamed.

“My shoulder was completely shattered, it wasn’t good! But I worked hard on getting back, the doctors did a great job and those results have left me in good spirits for the rest of the season when I hope to do the same, if not better!”

Although Nathan’s comeback story earned the headlines locally on Saturday, his twin brother Andrew also impressed in the same races, winning the first and claiming second in the final outing as he cemented his second place overall in the Ulster and Irish Championship standings.

Andrew and Nathan had qualified as first and second 125s respectively on Saturday morning, finishing third and fourth overall behind road racers Paul Robinson and Melissa Kennedy, who were on Moto3 machines, in race one.

The second race was red flagged due to an incident on lap two. After a long delay it was reduced to four laps, which saw Andrew and Nathan finishing fourth and fifth overall to claim second and third in the class after finishing behind winner Jonny Campbell, who was second overall, sandwiched by Moto 3 runners, Robinson and Kennedy.

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The brothers and Cairns Racing would like to thank MTA, Angus Jack, Cairns Classic Motorcycles, GW Engineering, Skye Bodywork, GMC Graphics and CH Design and parents, Paul and Alison.

Lyons retains lead

ANOTHER local racer, 13-year-old Omagh lad Jamie Lyons was also in action at Kirkistown onboard his C&M Motors-liveried Kawasaki Ninja 300 in the Junior Cup class.

Having enjoyed a stunning start to the season, with eight wins out of eight at the Mondello Masters, the Omagh Academy pupil continued his good run with two third places behind winner, British Talent Cup rider, Johnny Campbell, and runner-up, Killyman’s Cameron Dawson, who regularly races in the Thundersport GB Series, while St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley, pupil Michael Owens was fourth in both races.

Jamie’s two podiums ensures he still leads the Junior Cup championship by 12 points from Campbell, with Dawson a further 10 points adrift in third, while Owens is joint fourth with Scott McCrory.

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