North West 200: News From The Paddock

North West 200: News From The Paddock

A selection of intriguing pieces of news emerging from the FonaCAB & Nicholl Oils North West 200 paddock.

* 23 times TT winner John McGuinness MBE, factory Honda Superstock, Superbike steeds will carry the number
two plate.

Tomorrow sees him set to pilot for the first time on the coast roads, his Honda Supersport steed which has title support from SMT and Blue Earth Construction.

* As showcased on social media, world’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman is a last minute addition to the Super Twins entry, piloting RS660 Aprilia machinery.

* In total 19 nations are represented including Australia courtesy of notable event returnee Josh Brookes.

* It’s 25 years since Michael Rutter’s first Superbike North West 200 success. His Super Twins class challenge sees him compete alongside prospective TT debutant Joe Loughlin on S1-R Paton tackle for the Team ILR/Mark Coverdale squad.

* Elite names sampling final pre-NW200 tests yesterday at Kirkistown included wins record holder Alastair Seeley and BE Racing/RK Racing’s challengers Jeremy McWilliams and Dominic Herbertson.

* Honda Racing have made the surprising switch to running Metzeler Tyres.

* Michael Dunlop has revealed his new Superbike steed, a Hawk Racing prepped GSX-R Suzuki mount that features support from companies including Street Sweep and Motul.

Speaking today about the late, late deal to return to Suzuki power, the 19 times TT Champion stated:

“It has been one of those situations where I have had to go back to someone I can trust.

Stuart has always said to call him if I needed anything. I made the call and they have built this Suzuki for me. Steve and Stuart might not have the biggest budget in the world but they always give 100 percent and that is all you can ask for.”

He continued:

“The last time I rode the Suzuki it was a brand new bike and the team has had four years to develop it since then.

I’ve had the support of Gary Ryan, the Black Dub and H&S to get this deal sorted but it would be good to have someone behind us for the race.”

Hawk Racing’s Steve Hicken added about the new tie-up with Dunlop, which will also roll onto TT 2022:

“Everyone else has had three years to prepare for this week but we have had just three days.

“It is just another one of those deals that happens between Hawk and Michael but if you win five TTs with someone there is a respect so let’s see what we can do now.”

* It’s the 30th Anniversary of Phillip McCallen’s five North West wins in a day.

* Wilson Craig Racing’s Joe Thompson is set to make his first appearance on 1000cc machinery at an International road race.

* Notable International road racers not racing this week include Derek Sheils, Rob Hodson, Jim Hind and Team Classic Suzuki’s Joe Akroyd & Tom Weeden.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Davison

Quotes courtesy of Stephen Davison

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou

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