North West 200: Hutchinson on course for return
Ian Hutchinson is planning to compete at the Relentless International North West 200 on May 21.
The NW’s technical director Mervyn Whyte has confirmed that the 31-year-old Yorkshire rider will be guest of honour at the Coleraine Borough Council-hosted media event next Thursday which will announce details of both Superbike races ahead of race week.
Hutchy, who suffered major injuries at Silverstone last September, has been working hard since early January to regain full fitness following a number of operations pre-Christmas.
He said: “Training and physio sessions are currently going extremely well and I’m feeling very good and have regained weight.
“I’m working out in the gym three times a week using the cross trainer and cycling machines and am also receiving regular physiotherapy on my legs.
“The metal frames are still protecting my legs but I’m certainly not in any pain and the doctors are really delighted with my recovery process.
“I’m also out on the roads cycling as well as using a quad bike on off-road trails near my home, and all these activities are helping me regain strength and fitness in preparation for the metal cages coming off around Easter time.
“We’re erring on the side of caution by not aiming for Brands Hatch on April 22-25, but I’ll be coming along to Brands to sample the atmosphere and see everyone.
“In addition Shaun Muir Racing and the Swan Yamaha team plan to unveil my new superbikes and by that stage I should be able to walk about ‘cage-free.’
“I must admit I’m really looking forward to it.”
Bingley man Hutchy, who made history at the 2010 TT by winning five solo races and beating Phillip McCallen’s record, is also very much looking forward to the Relentless backed North West as he believes it’s an excellent course to make a comeback on.
“Whilst race day is hard work, the track is not a busy one and the two practice sessions, and especially Thursday daytime, will give me the chance to ease back into competitive racing,” he said.
“We plan to take part at Croft the week before the North West, but will also undergo regular testing pre-Croft in preparation for the NW Superbike, 600cc and Superstock races.”
Immediately following Ian’s Silverstone crash medical teams predicted a two-year recovery timeline.
But following Hutchy’s attitude and determination to make a full recovery during hospitalisation, coupled with his gym work and training schedules post-Christmas, surgeons then forecast a timescale of a year, which has since been reduced to six months.
“It’s been hard work both mentally and physically but I’m really pleased with my progress to date.
“I would like to wholeheartedly thank the medical team at Coventry, who looked after all the bone work, and Bradford Royal Infirmary, who managed the skin grafting programme.
“Both teams have been absolutely amazing and will continue to support me over the coming weeks.
“Now I just need to be patient and keep up my training schedule so that I’m fully fit and ready for the imminent removal of the metal cages. “
Whyte said it was great news that Hutchy’s recovery programme is progressing well ahead of schedule.
“Ian has two North West wins under his belt, taking Supersport trophies in 2006 and 2010, and the Coleraine Club is delighted that his name is on the grid for 2011.
“Ian has always been a great competitor and I know all the fans will be looking forward to seeing him on the 8.9 mile course.
“We wish him well over the coming weeks.”