Belfast Telegraph

New faces add fresh look to North West 200 grid

By Jim Gracey

Rookie riders are traditionally warmly welcomed each year at the Relentless International North West 200 and 2011 is no exception with over 20 newcomers from both sides of the Irish Sea confirmed for Race Day on May 21.

Leading the pack is British Superbikes and Macau star Simon Andrews from Evesham, Surrey who’ll be on the grid for the Eventserv Superbike Race and McAvoy NW200 Superbike Races as well as the CP Hire Superstock class.

“Injury prevented Simon from making his North West debut last year and I’m delighted that we’ve agreed terms for him to ride for the Paul Shoesmith-backed Ice Valley BMW team this year,” race director Mervyn Whyte reported.

The rider added: “I’m currently training hard in the gym and also for the London Triathlon in July where I’m competing to raise cash for charities Macmillan, Acorn Children’s Hospice and the Isle of Man oxygen chamber. I’m doing weight training and have secured the services of a specialist to help me achieve peak fitness for both the race season and the triathlon.

“My aim at the North West is to achieve a top 15 position and simply enjoy myself as it’s my debut. Though my secret ambition is to beat my team-mate and Ice Valley manager Paul Shoesmith who’s been a North West regular for several years! So roll on May 21.”

Also joining Andrews for their NW200 debuts are Italian rider Dario Cecconi, Team of Paris competitor Timotlee Monot (24) from France and Swiss rider Herve Gantner.

Adding some Italian chic is Simona Zaccardi from Rome who has taken part in the Manx Grand Prix as well as the Italian and the European Championship.

Road specialist and French Championship rider Ongaro Ornella (20) will also be on the North West grid for the first time alongside Motorcycle News roadtester Adam Child and local rider Kirk Jamieson from Greyabbey. With 48 wins under his belt and three times runner-up in the Irish Supersport and Superbike Championship, Kirk has also won the Ken Redfern Trophy twice.

Newcomers are limited to a maximum three races and require permission to race from global governing body, the FIM.

Belfast Telegraph

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