Belfast Telegraph

Keith Amor shaping up for North West 200

By Paul Lindsay

Falkirk-born racer Keith Amor has been living the archetypal nomadic lifestyle that is very much suited to an international motorcycling star in the modern era.

The former Vauxhall International North West 200 Superstock race winner has been living and running his own business in Cyprus this past two years, but has returned to the British Isles to prepare for his return to racing after injury at the TT in 2011 forced him into premature retirement.

Living and training in the Isle of Man with best friend and Honda World Superbike star Jonathan Rea has fired the happy-go-lucky 42-year-old back into race trim. And he aims to put it to good use at the North West Triangle this coming May.

Recounting his 2010 victory at the North West, Amor said: “The last time I was at Portrush in 2010 I won the Superstock race and set a 600cc lap record that still stands today.”

He added: “I was at the sharp end back then and although it might be a bit of a big ask to get back there after four years away, I think I can still mix it up with the boys at the front.”

Amor was lured out of retirement by his old racing foe Ryan Farquhar, who is also making a comeback at the North West in 2014. The pair will go head to head in both Supertwin races on KMR SGS International Kawasaki ER6s built by the Dungannon rider. Amor will also race Cameron Donald’s 2014 CBR600RR Honda in the colours of his new sponsor, Rip Deluge.

“It will be funny racing for Ryan’s team as we used to be the biggest rivals on the track,” the 42-year-old smiled. “I raced the ER6 recently at Bishopscourt and it requires a style all of its own, but I’m getting the hang of it,” Amor joked. “I can’t wait to get racing it now at the North West and as long as I finish ahead of Jeremy and Ryan, I will be happy. That’s my goal.”

Speaking of the former Cameron Donald Supersport machine that local sponsor Brian Hull has purchased, Amor concluded: “The 600 is a special bike. It took a while to get used to the speed of it, but now I can’t wait to get to the North West on it.”

In other news, Adelaide Insurance Services has sponsored this year’s Enkalon Trophy race, which will be held on Easter Saturday, April 19 at Bishopscourt Race Circuit. The Irish Superbike Easter festival has once again attracted a huge entry and the 38th running of the prestigious Enkalon Trophy has attracted the likes of current ISB champion Nico Mawhinney, David Haire and Jamie Hamilton onto the entry list.

A full 16 race programme will get underway at 11am. The adult admission charge of £10 includes an event programme, with under 16s free.

Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi feels this weekend's MotoGP event in America will prove if he genuinely has a shot at a seventh title.

The 35-year-old Italian finished a superb second to reigning champion Marc Marquez in the season-opener in Qatar three weeks ago, missing out by just 0.259secs after starting from 10th.

Rossi heads into the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, buoyed by Yamaha's form.

“The season started well, but now we need confirmation,” said Rossi, who set a new record in Qatar for point-scoring finishes, now at 262, to edge one ahead of Loris Capirossi.

“Last year I had one of my worst races of the season in Texas, and this year I want to see if we can be competitive everywhere.

“Getting a good result in Austin would mean a lot for me and for Yamaha. It would mean the direction taken is the right one.

“So we will try to do our best to be competitive in Austin because I'd like to have fun, like I did in Qatar.”

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