Injury-hit Nico Mawhinney returning to Ulster Superbike grid in 2019
Castledawson rider Nico Mawhinney hopes to put his injury woes behind him when he returns to racing to compete in the Ulster Superbike Championship in 2019.
The 25-year-old survived a career-threatening crash at Mallory Park in 2017 after recovering from a serious crash at the North West 200 in 2016.
The former Ulster Superbike champion will ride an ex-Gary Johnson Kawasaki ZX-10RR Superstock machine.
Mawhinney will ride under the Team Polaris Racing banner.
"I helped out out my friend double USBK lightweight and super twin champion Gary McCoy this year and I am convinced I have much more to achieve in the sport and am very much looking forward to being on the start grid next Easter," explained the Castledawson rider.
Mawhinney will display the famous William Dunlop number 6 logo on his race machine in memory of his friend who was killed in a crash at the Skerries 100 last July.
"Yea me and William were good friends and his passing has hit me very hard and I thought it would be nice to have his number 6 on my bike.
"We used to play football together and William was the one who gave me much advice, especially at the North West 200.
"I was devastated but every rider thinks it will not happen to them."
Mawhinney outlined that his main goal in 2019 will be to compete in the Ulster Superbike Championship, having previously raced in BSB and British Thundersport.
"To be honest there is nowhere like home - the pressure is not as bad and you don't have to drive thousands of miles all year in a transit van.
"I do admit I have a dream to race at the Isle of Man TT and of course the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
"However I will take one step at a time and see how I perform in USBK again in 2019."