The Tobermore rider has obvious podium claims in the Supertwins class on Roy Hanna’s Kawasaki after finishing third in 2017, but McLean is quietly optimistic of being in contention in the Supersport races.
He finished 10th in the opening Supersport encounter last August but the 22-year-old has greater expectations this year.
McLean was in excellent form at the Southern 100 last month, where he battled it out with Dean Harrison and his McAdoo team-mate James Cowton in the S&S Motors 600 race, eventually finishing third.
Sadly, Yorkshire rider Cowton was tragically killed in the final race of the four-day meeting, leaving McLean uncertain over his participation at Armoy and the Ulster Grand Prix.
However, he made a tentative return at last month’s Ulster Superbike meeting at Bishopscourt on the McAdoo Kawasaki ZX-10R and decided to compete at Armoy, where the main race programme was cancelled due to heavy rain.
McLean finished as the runner-up in the opening Supersport race on the Friday evening at Armoy following practice, which he led all the way until he was outpaced by Paul Jordan on the dash to the line, missing out on victory by only 0.007 seconds.
With the recent tragedies still playing on his mind, McLean admitted he didn’t feel he was riding to his full potential at Armoy, but last year’s top Isle of Man TT newcomer says he is now ready to give it his best shot at Dundrod, especially in the Supersport class.
“I felt really good at the Southern 100 on the 600 and I was able to run with Dean for a while in one of the races,” he said.
“The McAdoo Kawasaki is really strong and MSS Performance build brilliant engines. There’s been a bit of development with them recently and they are even better now, so hopefully we can bring home a couple of decent results on the 600 especially at the Ulster Grand Prix.
“I feel the Supersport class is my strongest class and I was riding the bike well up until Armoy.
“I didn’t feel myself at Armoy with everything that has happened recently but now I’m ready to get stuck in at the Ulster,” he added.
“We had a decent run last year but this time I need to try and qualify a bit better and get away with the front group, which will make the job a bit easier.
“I’ll be out on the ZX-10R as well but we’ve been struggling to get comfortable on the big bike all year and I’m just looking for some more mileage on it and a few decent results.”