Kilham road racer James Cowton has just returned home after almost three weeks on the Isle of Man competing in the prestigious TT races. This year the 25year is riding for the McAdoo Kawasaki racing team a high profile outfit based in Cookstown Northern Island established in 1982 by Winston McAdoo who has since helped many of the top road racers to fulfil their ambitions in the sport.
Action started for James at the Pre TT Classic meeting on the 4,25 mile Billown circuit at Castletown, where piloting Pete Berwick’s 250TZ Yamaha he won the Geoff Duke Junior Superbike race for the 4th year in succession, a real confidence booster for the TT fortnight.
Back in the TT paddock the weather played havoc, practice sessions were abandoned but eventually two days later than scheduled the bikes were on track and James’ put in some encouraging times. Frustrations were running high for officials and racers and what should have been the first race day was turned into a full day of practice with race day on a Sunday. This in turn was disappointing news for James because of Winston McAdoo’s religious beliefs his bike never race on a Sunday so he had to sit that one out.
The following day he was out on the ZX6R Kawasaki in the four lap SuperSport race around the 37.73 mile mountain circuit racing against the clock for a 150 miles. He started nineteenth and was soon up to pace and recorded the twelfth fastest time at the end of lap one he went on to finish a fine tenth at the chequered flag and his first 2017 ‘silver replica’ in the bag!
Next up was the Lightweight race which saw James out on a brand new Ninga Z650 and considering his former history in this class it was initially a disappointing result of eighth - but on reflection it was a great result because he lost third gear on the opening lap and the clutch was slipping for most of the race so he did it well to bring it home and collect another silver replica!
James rode the Kawasaki ZX-10RR well in the high charged SuperStock race crossing the finish line in fifteenth place making up ten places from his starting position in the four lap race with a fastest time of 123.026mph – this time he collected a bronze replica.
In the TT Zero James rode the Brunel BX- 15 he failed to complete a lap in qualifying but the electric bike held out in the race and he finished sixth but was later relegated to fifth when another machine was disqualified,
The weather was still playing its part resulting in the second SuperSport race to be cancelled, so to the final race the Senior event which would see James on the Stock machine against the Superbikes with a twenty-eighth place starting position. Originally a six lap race reduced to four after a red flag on the second lap of the first start, again James showed great skill and determination bringing the Kawasaki home in fifteenth place with a fastest speed of 124.819mph and another silver replica.
With the TT completed the team relocated down the road to the Billown circuit for the Post TT races – slick fast action comprising of a couple of hours practice and three races organised by the Southern 100 club. Luckily the inclement weather from earlier in the day moved away and the crowds were treated to some close fast racing, James put the McAdoo Kawasaki 600 on pole position and was never headed in an adrenaline pumping race crossing the finish line 0.77s ahead of his closest rival setting a new track record of 2m 20.775s and a fastest lap of 108.684mph.
James was on pole again for the 250/650 race and went on to take victory by 18seconds continuing his unbeaten streak in the 650 class at this meeting for the third year in succession.
James was third fastest in qualifying for the 1000cc race, blasted the Kawasaki ZR-10RR off the line and led for a couple high octane laps before being overhauled by William Dunlop, James hung on to second for two more laps dropping back to third on lap five. Jamie Coward went on to win but James snatched back second when Dunlop tangled with back markers on the penultimate lap.
A great end to a successful TT – James’ next pure road meeting with McAdoo Kawasaki racing is the Southern 100 at the beginning of July, but before that you can see him at The Cock O’ The North Meeting at Oliver’s Mount 23rd/24th June riding the Cowton racing Honda 600 and Kawasaki 650.
Photo of James, And one of James and his dad Fran Cowton
Photos courtesy of Paul Deighton