Belfast Telegraph

Motorcycle ace Hutchinson clear to ride at NW200

JIM GRACEY

TT record holder and bionic biker Ian Hutchinson has been cleared for his Irish racing comeback at next year's Vauxhall International North West 200.

There had been uncertainty over Bingley Bullet Hutchinson's presence on the north coast grid as organisers pondered rule changes that would have excluded his Milwaukee Yamaha machines.

Now comes the news that the 2014 North West will operate under same specification rules as 2012, meaning Hutchinson and new Aussie team-mate Josh Brooks will be racing at Portrush next May 17.

Hutchy and Newtownards-based Brooks will take on an all-star grid on their Milwaukee Yamaha YZF R1 Superbikes in both big bike races. Hutchinson will also compete in the Supersport and Superstock classes on the Tuesday and Thursday.

It's a boost for the even and his legion of fans who've missed seeing the Yorkshire rider in action here as he was forced to sit out most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons as he recovered from surgery on serious leg injuries he sustained in a crash in 2010. The 34 year old will want to pick up where he left off in that brilliant 2010 season when he won at every International road race, including a Supersport victory at the North West and record five TT wins in a week on the Isle of Man.

That 2010 Supersport win was only Hutchy's second victory on the famous 8.9 mile Triangle course since his 2004 debut. In 2006 he won another 600cc race on Winston McAdoo's ZXR600 and after his scintillating victory in last month's Macau Grand Prix on the Milwaukee Yamaha, few would bet against him adding to his North West tally in 2014.

Team-mate Brooks' North West career has been much shorter, with the Australian British Superbike star having made his pure road racing debut at Portstewart last season. It was something of a baptism of fire for the 30 year old who rode a Superstock spec Tyco Suzuki GSXR to seventh place in the Thursday evening damp race.

But the laid back Aussie, who finished runner up in the 2013 British Superbike championship, had his appetite for between the hedges racing whetted by his experience and Brooks will make a much anticipated return to the North West on the superfast red and white liveried Milwaukee Yamaha Superbike in 2014.

"It is a great start for our 2014 event to be able to announce the inclusion of two big stars like Josh and Ian," said Event Director Mervyn Whyte who travelled to Macau to open talks with Hutchinson and other top riders he hopes to announce as North West competitors in the New Year.

"Hutchy proved at Macau that he is back to his best and that he means business," added Mervyn. "And Josh is a class act who could surprise a lot of people. It is really exciting to have both of them back with their new Milwaukee Yamaha team."

Before that Hutchinson will be a special guest at the Adelaide Insurance bike awards at Shaw'sBridge Ramada on January 17.

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