Paul Jordan remains an advocate of Irish national road racing as a tried and test route to success at the Isle of Man TT.
The Magherafelt man is a regular on the domestic scene in Ireland and although there has been an increasing number of riders coming straight from the British championship to take on the challenge of the Mountain Course in recent years – most notably outright lap record-holder and five-time winner Peter Hickman – Jordan points to fellow racers in the mould of Michael Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Cameron Donald and Gary Johnson, who made a successful transition from Irish road racing to winning on the biggest stage of all.
Although the world-famous Manx meeting has been cancelled for a second successive year in 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Jordan remains hopeful that many more Irish road races will go ahead next year after the calendar was effectively wiped out in 2020.
“Hopefully things can get back to normal next year and we can have a lot more road races,” Jordan said.
“The TT has been cancelled and I was gutted when I heard the news, but they say there might be chance of the Classic TT going ahead next year and I’ll be there if it does.
“For the likes of myself and Adam McLean, it’s going to be tough missing two years at the TT and then starting off again in 2022.
“I only made my debut in 2017 and I’ve still a lot of learning to do, so I’ll try and do as much homework as I can but come 2022, it could be three years since we last raced on the island and you don’t know what might have changed around the course, with resurfacing or whatever.
“It’s something I’ve thought about and for me personally, I think I would just go back and treat it as if I was a newcomer again and try and feel my way back into it,” added Jordan, who was due to ride for the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team at the TT.
“It’s going to suit the riders who have more experience and it means they will have an advantage going into practice week. But the way I’m looking at it is that I’ve got a few years ahead of me and I’m not going to try and rush it to make it in a year or two.”
Jordan, who won his first major road race in 2019 in the Supertwin class at the Ulster Grand Prix, said that although the Irish national road racing scene isn’t as strong as it was a decade ago, it still remains a breeding ground for major road race winners.
“When you look at the likes of Gary Johnson, Bruce Anstey, Conor Cummins, Guy Martin, Dean Harrison and Michael Dunlop, those guys are top road racers who did the Irish nationals,” said the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing rider.
“They didn’t come from the British championship and they just plugged away slowly but surely until they got to the top and they were able to maintain it.
“Unfortunately, I think there is too much pressure on the younger riders coming through at the TT and a lot of them can’t sustain it.
“The Irish nationals might not be as strong as they once were but it shows that it was a good route for a lot of top TT riders and you don’t necessarily have to go through the British championship as your bread and butter.”
The North West 200 is the only major road race likely to take place next year – aside from the end-of-season Macau Grand Prix – with the future of the debt-hit Ulster Grand Prix in jeopardy.
A final decision on the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix will be made by the end of March.