“At last I have something to smile about,” was the first thing Jamie Hamilton said as he packed up the van after the Kells road races at the weekend, writes Maurice Montgomery.
The Ballyclare rider has endured a torrid time this season, but it all came good at the Kells meeting as he ended the day’s racing as the ‘Man of the Meeting’.
He finished on the rostrum in every race he started - another first for the likable local man.
His opening race on Sunday was the supertwins and by the flag he had taken third behind Connor Behan and Derek Magee.
“I was second and looking for a move to lead but Magee out-braked me and I had to settle for third,” he told the Times.
In the opening superbike race Hamilton was third home again. “I was riding real smooth and taking no chances but I had nothing in reserve to challenge the leaders. I was happy enough with another rostrum finish,” he said.
In his final race, the Supersport 600, the 23-year-old was in the hunt again. On a bike he believes could do with more speed, he was pleased with his second place.
Said Hamilton: “Derek Magee was the race leader but was pushing things to the limit. I was happy with my riding as I hit every apex and braking marker. It was a very welcome result I can tell you on the Wilson Craig supersport Honda.”
In the Grand Final, no-one could match Isle of Man rider Dan Kneen on the Cookstown BE racing Suzuki. Behind him, Hamilton and Michael Sweeney were wheel-to-wheel for the entire race, and although Jamie made a move at the final corner, he had to settle for third.
“I was riding the Wilson Craig Superstock Honda in the superbike races. It is down a bit on top speed but it’s such a sweet-handling bike it sort of compensates for the speed.
“I thought I had him sorted at the final corner but he pushed me wide and I had to settle for third.
Still, it was great to finish on the rostrum in every race. That’s the first time in my career I have done it. From a complete downer I now have a glimmer of hope. Now my season is up and running,” he smiled.