Fastest man on the Triangle will return this year
Martin Jessopp, the fastest ever rider through the Vauxhall International North West 200 speed trap at a staggering 208mph, will be returning to the May 17 showpiece with a tricked-up MotoGP specification BMW Superbike.
The 28-year-old, from Somerset, who rides for his father Phil's motorcycleriders.com squad, will be looking to give BMW their first-ever Superbike victory at the Triangle, and he shouldn't be too far away on the heavily modified BMW S1000RR HP4, as his technically-minded father explained.
"We have done an awful lot of development work on BMW machinery since last year and we have built different bikes for the roads and also for BSB." he said.
"We have used MotoGP technology in the back end of the new HP4 to develop a new swinging arm and we have also designed new yokes and forks for the front end to help make the bike more stable. The engine will have more power, as well as a new BMW factory electronics system."
The machine improvements are welcome news for Martin but he's keeping an open mind, knowing that speed and stability are of paramount importance at the North West.
"You need a really fast and stable bike for road circuits like the North West. We know the engine is fast because we were the fastest through the speed trap at Macau last year, so most of the development has been directed towards the chassis, so hopefully we will have a bike that is best designed to perform better on the roads."
This year will also see Jessopp extending his road racing outings to take in the Isle of Man TT, as well as his regular appearances at the North West 200 and the Macau Grand Prix. But it is the North West that remains at the top of his priorities.
"I will be going to the TT to learn my way around this year but I am coming to the North West to target podiums and race wins." Jessop added. "Years ago people used to talk about racing at the North West to get the bike set up for the TT but the North West is a huge event that stands on its own nowadays and I am really looking forward to getting back."
Event director Mervyn Whyte thinks this could be Jessopp's year.
"Martin, his father Phil and their motorcycleriders.com team are a really professional squad and by building a 'roads' special' BMW Superbike, they are making it very clear that they mean business on the North Coast come May."