By Gavin Caldwell, Belfast Live.
Former Irish Superbike champion Nico Mawhinney is taking a break from racing.
Mawhinney has confirmed he will sit out this weekend’s USBK Superbike Championship at Bishopscourt.
The Castledawson rider cited bike issues and a lack of fitness for his absence, while his long-term future in the sport also remains in doubt.
Mawhinney returned to racing this year having suffered near career-ending injuries a couple of years ago.
He made a successful comeback this year and appeared to be gradually getting into the swing of things, enjoying a pole position at the recent President’s Cup meeting at Kirkistown and finishing third in the first Superbike race.
After enjoying a good battle with USBK Superbike championship leader Carl Phillips, Mawhinney had a coming together with Alistair Kirk.
Mawhinney ended up on the deck when both riders tangled at the last chicane, and suffered injuries that have prevented him to race this weekend.
“I will be having a break from this weekend’s USBK round for a couple of different reasons,” he said.
“The bike is not ready and I am not 100 per cent fit. The bike got a bit of damage once again and unfortunately I’m fussy and won’t ride the bike until it is perfect as I don’t like setting a bad example for sponsors or myself.
“The other reason is that I need to have a think. My mind isn’t 100 per cent focused at the moment. I have been thinking about how from 2016 I’ve had disastrous luck.
“Unfortunately bikes is something I can’t live without at the moment in my life, I have had lots of injuries but it’s so difficult to leave. I am annoyed I’m not racing this weekend but I’m being strong in my decision as I want to be 100 per cent focused.
“I broke a few bones in my hand and my big toe and top of my foot, none of which needed a cast so I was lucky in that sense. So I’m taking a week or so off from training, more so for time to myself. Motorcyclists need to be in the right mindset and I don’t want to rush this weekend when I haven’t had time to make the decision properly.
“I have a few opportunities arising to help younger riders come through the ranks and the offer has been made, which I appreciate and I want to help bring riders in Ireland. So I will miss this weekend to just think about everything, get my head right and be ready for when I make the decision to go racing.”
Mawhinney added: “I’m just sorry to anyone who might been looking forward to seeing the big girl on track this weekend, but I thank you all for your understanding and support I’ve received since day one.
“We’re not going away, we are here to stay.”