When you think of Superstock action at the North West 200 during the 2010’s, one manufacturer in particular springs to mind BMW. The German marques new flagship road racing steed replacing the mighty S1000RR, the M1000RR is to be raced by roads giants including world’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman. Now competing under the FHO Racing banner, Hickman knows what it takes to triumph in the Superstock class at the North West, as proven by victories in 2018 and 2019. Will he make it three successive NW200’s emerging victorious on stock 1000cc machinery? It’s an obvious possibility, the TT, Ulster GP lap record holder is only to aware though of the formidable opposition. This includes fellow BMW runners Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee BMW Motorrad), Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing), Gary Johnson and Bathams Racing’s Michael Rutter. Speaking via a recently issued press release, the 14 times event winner stated about his latest NW200 charge: “Like a lot of people, I’m so happy that road racing is back on the agenda for 2022. It seems like a lifetime since we’ve been able to race on the roads, and like everyone else I can’t wait to get back out there. Road racing has always been a big part of Bathams Racing, and the whole team have really missed it, so we’ve decided to initially focus all our time and effort on the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT races for 2022. I’m 50 years old now, so really should know better but my love for road racing is the same today as it ever was, so giving it a miss after the two year break never entered my mind. The only thought I had was getting back out there again.” Further depth to BMW’s Superstock presence is added by Craig Neve, Phil Crowe, Brian McCormack, Michael Sweeney, newcomer Michael Evans (Heattech Racing), Italian star Stefano Bonetti and Haith/Rich Energy supported Dominic Herbertson. Looking towards Honda’s challenge, lots of focus will be on BSB front runner Glenn Irwin. Runner-up in the opening stock 1000 encounter in 2019, he’s since largely not dabbled with stock class action. Despite this fact, it would be a brave call to suggest he won’t feature at the sharp end of next Thursday evening, Saturday’s races. Honda Racing Team-mate John McGuinness MBE has been clocking up the testing, race mileage and has the obvious pedigree to fight for podiums, same applies to 19 times TT winner Michael Dunlop plus the Milenco by Padgetts pairing of Conor Cummins and Davey Todd. In particular much is expected of 2019 IRRC Superbike Champion Todd, who placed third in the most recent Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race at Oulton Park. NW200 wins record holder Alastair Seeley, Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s James Hillier, Buildbase Suzuki’s Richard Cooper are additional potential podium contenders as is DAO Racing’s Dean Harrison. Widely considered amongst the best racers to as yet not triumphed on the Triangle course, could next week finally see him join the NW200 winners circle? Others entered in the six-lap Superstock races include Spain’s top pure road racer Raul Torras Martinez, PreZ Racing’s Paul Jordan, KTS Racing Powered by Steadplan’s Jamie Coward, Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Nathan Harrison, IRRC front runner Lukas Maurer. Plus, high-profile newcomers including ex Moto GP, World Supersport racer James Ellison, WH Racing’s Julian Trummer and Wigan’s Josh Daley. As in the Superbike and Supersport classes, the Superstock NW200 entry of 2022 has a great vibrant mix of works, semi works, International-winning, ambitious next gen road racers. Pulsating action, dramatic over takes, bold moves, intoxicating competition, are just some of the phrases that spectators and the wider roads fraternity more than likely will be echoing next week. As an abundance of Superstock 1000 wizards aim to accomplish just one goal, race wins at the FonaCAB & Nicholl Oils North West 200. Photo’s by Rod Neill, Tommy Vennard Quotes via Bathams Racing press release Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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