Three-time former British Supersport champion Karl Harris leads a strong line-up of newcomers for this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200. The 32 year old, who has also won a European Superstock title in a long and successful career, will lead the orange bib charge at Portrush on May 18.
‘I have always fancied doing the North West.’ Karl said during a visit to the North Coast on Tuesday to see the famous Triangle circuit. ‘I did the TT in 2012 and I loved the roads and want to do more.’
Harris will line-up on the PR Kawasakis in both the Superbike and Superstock races and he is trying to muster up a Supersport seat also.
21 year old Yorkshire lad James Cowton is the latest recruit to the Vauxhall KMR squad and he will ride one of the all-conquering 650cc machines prepared by Ryan Farquhar in both Supertwin races at the 2013 North West. It will be the first appearance on the Irish roads for Cowton who won the 400cc Newcomers Manx Grand Prix in 2012.
‘I want to take my road racing a bit further and the North West 200 is the next step.’ James explained.
Local riders Gareth Keys from Lisburn and Cullybackey’s Sam Wilson will also make their North West 200 debuts this May. Wilson, who was recently named the ‘Young Rider of the Year’ at the Adelaide Irish Motorcyclist of the Year awards, will forsake his beloved two stroke machines for a Supersport-spec Logan Yamaha in both 600cc races. Car mechanic Keys, the nephew of famous Irish road racer Trevor Keys, will have a BMW superbike for Triangle debut.
Lincolnshire racer Ivan Lintin had a brief flirtation with the North West circuit in 2008 but his career took him in other directions ever since. Ivan will return to Portrush in May on a McKinstry Supertwin and a Taylor Lindsay Supersport machine. The 28 year old had an impressive TT in 2012, finishing just behind Ian Hutchinson in the first Supersport race in 10th place.
‘It is really encouraging to see such a strong contingent of newcomers wanting to race at the Vauxhall North West 200.’ Event Director Mervyn Whyte, MBE, says. ‘There is a great depth to the talent in road racing at the moment and we will do everything we can to encourage local and visiting riders to come and have a safe and enjoyable debut on the North Coast.’
The 2013 Vauxhall International North West 200 takes place from the 12th-19th May. Check out www.northwest200.org for full details.