Belfast Telegraph

Jeremy McWilliams all set to tackle North West 200 again at 52

By Paul Lindsay

Jeremy McWilliams will be back at this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 on May 10-14 at the ripe old motorcycle racing age of 52, looking to make it at hat-trick of wins in the Supertwin class aboard his preferred steed – a Ryan Farquhar prepared KMR/SGS International ER6 Kawasaki.

The former 250cc Grand Prix race winner, who only took up road racing after retiring from full time track competition, is currently in Australia racing classic machinery alongside the likes of multiple Grand Prix world champion Freddie Spencer and Kevin Schwantz. And despite having a well-filled diary of commitments for 2016, he is as hungry as ever to compete at the Triangle in May.

“No race meeting comes close to the atmosphere at the North West 200 and I have enjoyed it so much I’m coming back for more. Everything is sorted with Ryan and we are ready to go again, so I’m counting down the days,” McWilliams said from his base in Australia, where he will compete in the Barry Sheen Festival of Speed this coming weekend at Eastern Creek.

McWilliams made his North West 200 debut back in 2012, securing a debut podium, before going on to take a fairytale victory just 12 months later for the team of Dungannon man Farquhar, who was taking a sabbatical from the sport at the time.

Since then ‘McWill’ and his #99 liveried machine have been a big hit with race fans at the Triangle, his presence also adding massive kudos to the event, with his GP pedigree an invaluable marketing tool for Event Director Mervyn Whyte.

On top of that, McWilliams and Farquhar have become the unlikeliest of buddies, in an extraordinary account that looks to still have a few chapters left to complete. 

“Ryan who originally got me involved in the event and I’m now glad he did,” said McWilliams who explained that such is his commitment level to other projects on the run up to the May showpiece, he will not get to mount his race bike until the Tuesday night of practice.

Last year McWilliams took his second North West 200 career victory, having edged out team boss Farquhar during Saturday’s Supertwins’ race. But with Farquhar the opening race victor on the Thursday night, the Glengormley man expects a tough battle again this year on the little Twin.

“Ryan and I have become good friends off the track but come the North West weekend, when you are racing with your friend, everything is different,” said McWilliams competitively.

Giving credit to Farquhar for providing equally competitive machinery in the KMR camp, he added: “Ryan puts everything into preparing the bikes and they were dead even last year. That is why it was a race to remember. Despite Tuesday practice being the first time I will see the bike, I will be hoping that it still feels like my bike and I am able to get up to speed quickly.

“You don’t go to the North West just to make up the numbers and I am hoping to add to the tally of wins because nothing comes close to the feeling of winning a North West. I want to get back up on that podium and again feel some more of those highs!

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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