Belfast Telegraph

Costello is determined to make most of her big opportunity at the North West 200

 

Star attraction: Maria Costello will meet NW200 fans
Star attraction: Maria Costello will meet NW200 fans

By Roy Harris

The countdown to the 90th Anniversary fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils begins tonight with the Meet the Stars evening in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine (doors open at 7pm).

The rider line-up is set to include Maria Costello, Richard Cooper, Dean Harrison, Glenn Irwin, Lee Johnston, Adam McLean, Alastair Seeley and Davey Todd, with Michael Dunlop also expected to take part.

Costello will this season compete on one of Mark Coverdale's Paton Supertwins - similar to the machine Dunlop rode to victory in the Lightweight TT.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for me," said Costello.

"I tried out the Paton last year and only did a few laps, but it's on another level in terms of performance and handling."

The Honda Racing duo of Ian Hutchinson and Australian David Johnson have confirmed their entries for the Superstock and Superbike races, where they will be riding CBR1000RR Fireblade machinery.

Hutchinson said: "It's great to be able to ride a bike properly again and after some time testing out in Spain, I think we can be competitive this year.

"I can't wait for the North West to get back on it."

James Hillier will race as team-mate to Irwin in the Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki squad around the Triangle, the 10th year in succession the Hampshire rider has ridden a ZX10RR Kawasaki in the team's livery at Portrush since making his debut in 2010.

The 33-year-old has racked up more than 10 top-10 finishes, although a race victory has eluded him.

"Race craft is key at the North West and putting yourself in the right place on the last lap can decide your entire race. You just need to ride cleverly," explained Hillier.

Johnston will debut his new Ashcourt Racing machinery at the North West.

"I'll be coming to the North West to win, although I'll not want to get in Alastair's and Glenn's way," he said with tongue in cheek, of course referring to the recent spat between the pair about winning six races at the meeting.

"I've been going to the North West since I was a child and all I ever wanted to see was a home rider beat the English lads and that's what I'll be trying to do come May."

Belfast Telegraph

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