FORMER national champion motorbike racer Ian Mackman will achieve another first this season, writes DAVE BETTLEY.
The 27-year-old Runcorn rider has been invited to make his Isle of Man TT debut in the event's centenary year.
Mackman is main rider for Team 2 Machs - so called as his wife Joanne's maiden name was McCor mack.
The team was formed in 2004, when Mackman was competing in the national Supersport 400 Series.
Moving to Runcorn around the same time, he was crowned MRO Supersport 400 champion before moving on to the National Superstock Cup series which runs alongside the British Superbike Championship.
In 2005, the first season on his Suzuki GSXR1000, Mackman performed consistently well for sixth place overall.
Last year, he switched to the more senior National Superstock Championship after buying a Suzuki GSXR1000 K6.
But by his own admission, the campaign was dif ficult.
'Early-season difficulties with set-up and being knocked off in two of the races dented my confidence,' explained Mackman, who is originally from Buckinghamshire and began road racing in 1998.
'Slowly, I made progress until an engine blow-up in the latter part of the season stretched my finances.'
But he still took many top-20 finishes while also picking up wins at club level.
For 2007, Team 2 Machs Racing are reverting to the National Superstock Cup.
His assault begins at Brands Hatch over Easter weekend and the series will take him to many more of the Britain's premier venues including Donington Park, Cheshire's own Oulton Park and Thruxton.
Organisers of the TT have handed Mackman a place in four events.
As well as contesting the Suzuki in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior categories, he will be riding in Supersport on a 600cc bike provided by Bill Smith Motors of Chester, where he is service manager.
And if Mackman is looking for any extra advice on how to tackle the closed-roads circuit, he knows who to ask.
'Bill Smith holds a record for most replicas obtained in the TT,' explained Mackman.
'A recent fact-finding mission on the island has left me keener than ever to take on the mountain course.'
Team 2 Machs are managed by James Powell, of Bill Smith Motors, but very much a family affair with Mackman's wife and mother-in-law Ann McCormack heavily involved.
* Potential sponsors can contact Ian Mack-man on 07958 181323.