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Cummins will target TT success after his NW200 injury blow

 

By Stephen Davison

Conor Cummins is out of next week's Vauxhall International North West 200. That is the sad news from the Padgett's Honda team after the Manxman visited the surgeon who operated on his broken throttle hand on Tuesday.

"Everything is good, but the injury just needs more time to heal," Cummins explained.

"I could come to the North West and ride round but I want to be competitive and win races."

The Ramsey man was due to ride in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport races at the North West for the Yorkshire-based Honda squad before his crash at Donington Park last month. A broken bone in the same wrist he broke after being knocked off by Gary Johnson at Mather's chicane in the 2012 North West 200 required surgery. Cummins has now lost his battle to be fit for the North Coast event.

"I am disappointed, but it is better not to disrupt the healing process," the 30-year-old said as he prepares for the TT in three weeks' time.

Cummins' team-mate Bruce Anstey will definitely be on the Coast Road grid after completing his 2017 preparations at Castle Combe last week.

"This will be my 15th year at the North West," the veteran Kiwi said after having his first outing on a superstock version of the new 2017 Honda Fireblade at the Wiltshire circuit.

Anstey will debut the new stocker at Portrush, but he will use his 2016 spec Fireblade in the Superbike races. He will also ride a CBR600RR in both Supersport events.

"I think the old Fireblade will still be fast enough to win after it went through the speed trap at over 209mph last year," the 48-year-old smiled. "I want to win but it is getting harder every year with all the BSB guys coming over."

Anstey has won 10 North West races, but his failure to finish a race in the top three in 2016 was the first time he has not stood on a NW200 podium since winning the Superstock race on his 2002 debut. It also brought to an end his remarkable record of having finished on the rostrum at every NW200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix for 13 seasons.

"Yeah, I lost my podium run at last year's North West but I kept it going at the TT and Ulster so I would like to get it back on track at the North West," he added.

"I was lying second in the Superbike race last year when I fell off at Church, and if the chance for a win is there I will go for it."

Anstey feels he has the bikes to win any race at Portrush but says the competition is especially tough this year.

"The new 'Stocker is a bit of an unknown but we should be there or thereabouts. The opposition is very strong. I was looking at the top 20 on the entry list and there's a lot of good riders.

"The racing will be really close. Michael Dunlop will be in there no matter what, Hutchy (Ian Hutchinson) is riding really well and Lee Johnston could get in my way too!"

Anstey is intrigued about how Glenn Irwin will fare on his BSB Ducati Panigale.

"He will be quick for sure," he says. "But it will be interesting to see if the bike stands the stress of going flat out for so long on the high speed straights."

Anstey feels his former Relentless Suzuki team mate Alastair Seeley will still be the man everyone has to beat next week.

"It will be harder for Alastair to win but I think he still wants to win at the North West more than anyone else," Anstey said.

Belfast Telegraph

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