Californian bike ace and Macau star Jeremy Toye will line out on the grid at next month’s Relentless International North West 200 under the Sondel Racing Kawasaki UK banner.
Toye battled furiously with Stuart Easton and Michael Rutter at the 2010 Macau Grand Prix, eventually taking third, and will make his North West debut alongside Sondel team mate Steve Mercer who hails from Maidstone, Kent.
Toye, from San Diego, started racing aged 14 and has competed in a full range of two wheel sports from supercross and motocross to flat track and desert riding as well as traditional road racing.
The 35-year-old competed in the TT in 2006 taking the fastest newcomer accolade, while co-rider Mercer claimed the same title in 2009.
Technical Director Mervyn Whyte MBE said organisers Coleraine & District Motor Club were delighted to welcome Toye.
“Tourism Ireland have helped to fund Jeremy’s visit and I’d like to thank Aubrey Irwin and all the team for their support in 2011 and in previous years.
“Set against the stunning North Coast land and seascapes, the event continues to attract visitors from across the pond and US stars such as Toye will help bring additional American visitors to the region.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to father and son team managers John and Yonny Weeden who head up Sondel Racing.
“John is a former NW200 competitor as well achieving excellent success during the mid-1980s in both World Formula Two and Formula One races and we’re thrilled to have two of his riders at this year’s event,” he added.
Mercer last year competed in selected Superbike and Superstock rounds of the British Superbike Championship and plans to take part in the British Superstock 1000 Championship alongside Sondel Racing’s 17 year old rising star Jamie Perrin.
Toye and Mercer are set to take part in both Relentless North West 200 superbike races on May 21.
l The Repsol Hondas of Casey Stoner and home favourite Dani Pedrosa led the way in the opening practice sessions for this weekend's Spanish MotoGP at Jerez.
Pedrosa's best time of one minute 40.101 seconds in the afternoon was 0.188secs faster than Stoner, although the Australian posted the best time of the day overall, his effort in first practice some six-tenths quicker than the afternoon's best.
Pedrosa's strong performance continued to fly in the face of his ongoing battle with a debilitating arm injury, which he will seek to correct by having surgery after tomorrow's race.
Behind the Honda pair, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Racing) improved on his fifth place in the morning to take third, half a second down on Pedrosa. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) was almost a second slower than Pedrosa, while Britain's Cal Crutchlow was down in 15th.