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North West 200: James Hillier fired up and set to shock the establishment with podium dream

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?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Supersport Practice.
James Hillier.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Supersport Practice. James Hillier.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

James Hillier on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. James Hillier on the grid.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. William Dunlop on his Milwaukee Yamaha bike during today's supersport practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. William Dunlop on his Milwaukee Yamaha bike during today's supersport practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2013: William and Michael Dunlop with Darren Clarke during a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club. The brothers were taking a break from their North West 200 duties to have an impromptu golf lesson with the former British Open winner as part of a BBC Sport event.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2013: William and Michael Dunlop with Darren Clarke during a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club. The brothers were taking a break from their North West 200 duties to have an impromptu golf lesson with the former British Open winner as part of a BBC Sport event. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2013: William and Michael Dunlop with Darren Clarke during a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club. The brothers were taking a break from their North West 200 duties to have an impromptu golf lesson with the former British Open winner as part of a BBC Sport event.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2013: William and Michael Dunlop with Darren Clarke during a visit to Royal Portrush Golf Club. The brothers were taking a break from their North West 200 duties to have an impromptu golf lesson with the former British Open winner as part of a BBC Sport event. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes judges  the Miss North West 200 competition held in the paddock last night.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes judges the Miss North West 200 competition held in the paddock last night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2013: Guy Martin at the North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2013: Guy Martin at the North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes judges  the Miss North West 200 competition held in the paddock last night.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes judges the Miss North West 200 competition held in the paddock last night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes judges  the Miss North West 200 competition held in the paddock last night.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes judges the Miss North West 200 competition held in the paddock last night. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2011. Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com
Relentless International North West 200. Practice day 2.
Technical Director Mervyn Whyte.

Presseye.com - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 19th May 2011. Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com Relentless International North West 200. Practice day 2. Technical Director Mervyn Whyte.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Miss North West 200 Bronagh Letters pictured on the North Coast with Portrush in the background.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Miss North West 200 Bronagh Letters pictured on the North Coast with Portrush in the background.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Josh Brookes(right) on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Josh Brookes(right) on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 17th May 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Relentless International 2012 North West 200.  Alastair Seeley pictured on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 17th May 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Relentless International 2012 North West 200. Alastair Seeley pictured on the grid.

PACEMAKER, BELFAST,12/3/2013:  Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes chats with Event Director Mervyn Whyte at Black Hill during a sighting lap of the North West 200 course. Brookes will make his debut at the event in May. 
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST,12/3/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes chats with Event Director Mervyn Whyte at Black Hill during a sighting lap of the North West 200 course. Brookes will make his debut at the event in May. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST,12/3/2013:  Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes on the North West 200 course. Brookes will make his debut at the event in May. 
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST,12/3/2013: Tyco Suzuki's Josh Brookes on the North West 200 course. Brookes will make his debut at the event in May. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 28/2/2013: Vauxhall KMR Kawasaki new recruit Brian McCormack pictured at the North West 200 course this week.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 28/2/2013: Vauxhall KMR Kawasaki new recruit Brian McCormack pictured at the North West 200 course this week. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Guy Martin(left) and Bruce Anstey on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Guy Martin(left) and Bruce Anstey on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Supersport Practice.
Jamie Hamilton.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Supersport Practice. Jamie Hamilton.

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Last year's Supertwins race winner Ryan Farquhar had a new role at today's opening practice session for the Vauxhall North West 200 as he worked on the race bikes of Michael Rutter and Jeremy McWilliams, who are riding for his Vauxhall KMR Kawasaki squad.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: Last year's Supertwins race winner Ryan Farquhar had a new role at today's opening practice session for the Vauxhall North West 200 as he worked on the race bikes of Michael Rutter and Jeremy McWilliams, who are riding for his Vauxhall KMR Kawasaki squad. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Guy Martin on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Guy Martin on the grid.

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th  May   2013
Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye

North West 200 Practice - Tuesday 
Alastair Seeley MSS Kawasaki during  Superstock  Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013  North West 200

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye North West 200 Practice - Tuesday Alastair Seeley MSS Kawasaki during Superstock Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200

Brian Little

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Bruce Anstey(left) and John McGuinness on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Bruce Anstey(left) and John McGuinness on the grid.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Michael Dunlop on his Honda Legends bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Michael Dunlop on his Honda Legends bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Stuart Easton on his Mar-Train Yamaha bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Stuart Easton on his Mar-Train Yamaha bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye
Motor Cycle Road Racing
Event: North West 200
Race: Supersport
Tuesday Practice
Date: 14th May 2013
Caption: Stuart Easton

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye Motor Cycle Road Racing Event: North West 200 Race: Supersport Tuesday Practice Date: 14th May 2013 Caption: Stuart Easton

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. William Dunlop on his Milwaukee Yamaha bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. William Dunlop on his Milwaukee Yamaha bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Conor Cummins on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Conor Cummins on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Jamie Hamilton on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Jamie Hamilton on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Ryan Fraquhar(left) and Michael Rutter on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Ryan Fraquhar(left) and Michael Rutter on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

John McGuinness on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. John McGuinness on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Michael Rutter(left) and Ryan Fraquhar on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Michael Rutter(left) and Ryan Fraquhar on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Ryan Fraquhar on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Ryan Fraquhar on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Guy Martin on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Guy Martin on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Michael Rutter on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Michael Rutter on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Guy Martin on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Guy Martin on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Josh Brookes(right) on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Josh Brookes(right) on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: BSB star Josh Brookes with his special newcomer leathers made for his Vauxhall North West 200 debut today.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/5/2013: BSB star Josh Brookes with his special newcomer leathers made for his Vauxhall North West 200 debut today. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Guy Martin on his Tyco Suzuki bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Guy Martin on his Tyco Suzuki bike during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14.05.2013 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Bruce Ansty on his Padgetts bike during today's supersport practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14.05.2013 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Bruce Ansty on his Padgetts bike during today's supersport practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye
Motor Cycle Road Racing
Event: North West 200
Race: Supersport
Tuesday Practice
Date: 14th May 2013
Caption: Guy Martin

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye Motor Cycle Road Racing Event: North West 200 Race: Supersport Tuesday Practice Date: 14th May 2013 Caption: Guy Martin

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Supersport Practice.
Alastair Seeley.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Supersport Practice. Alastair Seeley.

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye
Motor Cycle Road Racing
Event: North West 200
Race: Supersport
Tuesday Practice
Date: 14th May 2013
Caption: Simon Andrews

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye Motor Cycle Road Racing Event: North West 200 Race: Supersport Tuesday Practice Date: 14th May 2013 Caption: Simon Andrews

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Guy Martin on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Guy Martin on the grid.

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye
Motor Cycle Road Racing
Event: North West 200
Race: Supersport
Tuesday Practice
Date: 14th May 2013
Caption: Ian Lougher

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/PressEye Motor Cycle Road Racing Event: North West 200 Race: Supersport Tuesday Practice Date: 14th May 2013 Caption: Ian Lougher

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Bruce Anstey(left) and John McGuinness on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Bruce Anstey(left) and John McGuinness on the grid.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Josh Brookes on his Tyco Suzuki bike during today's superstock practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

14/5/13 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Josh Brookes on his Tyco Suzuki bike during today's superstock practice session at the Vauxhall NW200. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Josh Brookes(right) on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Josh Brookes(right) on the grid before the start of the Supersport practice.

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th  May   2013
Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye

North West 200 Practice - Tuesday 
Guy martin (4) Tyco Suzuki by TAS Racing followed  by Ian Lougher (Honda)  during  Supersport Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013  North West 200

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye North West 200 Practice - Tuesday Guy martin (4) Tyco Suzuki by TAS Racing followed by Ian Lougher (Honda) during Supersport Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Superbike Practice.
John McGuinness.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Superbike Practice. John McGuinness.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Superbike Practice.
Bruce Anstey.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Superbike Practice. Bruce Anstey.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. 

Ryan Fraquhar on the grid.

Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. The Vauxhall International North West 200 - First practice day. Ryan Fraquhar on the grid.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races.
Supersport Practice.
Guy Martin.

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Supersport Practice. Guy Martin.

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th  May   2013
Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye

North West 200 Practice - Tuesday 
  Michael Dunlop (Honda) during  Supersport Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013  North West 200

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye North West 200 Practice - Tuesday Michael Dunlop (Honda) during Supersport Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200

Brian Little

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th  May   2013
Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye

North West 200 Practice - Tuesday 
Australian BSB star Josh Brookes  Tyco Suzuki  during  Novice Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013  North West 200

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye North West 200 Practice - Tuesday Australian BSB star Josh Brookes Tyco Suzuki during Novice Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200

Brian Little

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th  May   2013
Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye

North West 200 Practice - Tuesday 
BSB star Karl 'Bomber' Harris  PR Racing Kawasaki  during  Novice Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013  North West 200

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye North West 200 Practice - Tuesday BSB star Karl 'Bomber' Harris PR Racing Kawasaki during Novice Practice for the Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200

Brian Little

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

Mini Moto Racing at Portrush in Co-Antrim at the weekend as the North West 200 motorbike racing week gets underway. Picture Margaret McLaughlin ? by-line 11-5-13

?Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 14th March 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com The Vauxhall International 2013 North West 200 road races. Supersport Practice. James Hillier.

All the headlines for the Vauxhall International North West 200 have been about the Dunlops, McGuinness, Martin, Seeley, Brookes or Anstey, but an outsider who could well be a podium contender is James Hillier.

The 28-year old from Bournemouth is one of the rising stars of road racing riding for the Quattro Plant Kawasaki Team.

Over the last two years Hillier has witnessed his road racing stock grow considerably to such an extent that he scored his first North West podium by finishing third in last year's hotly contested Superstock race.

He finished behind North West legend Michael Rutter (who came from the second group to win) and Alastair Seeley.

The Englishman was also fourth behind the KMR Kawasaki trio in the Supertwin race with a sixth and eighth in both Superbike races recording the 16th fastest speed around the current circuit at 119.138mph – not bad for someone who only made their debut at the Triangle in 2010 with two 19th place finishes in the Superstock and Superbike classes.

He then went to the TT and finished second behind Ryan Farquhar in the Supertwin race adding a number of top ten finishes during the week.

Hillier began racing in the Aprilia Challenge series in 2001, finished fourth in the Yamaha R6 Cup in 2004 and has been a regular points scorer in various BSB classes.

He made his road racing debut at the 2008 TT and Ulster Grand Prix where he finished second behind Ollie Linsdell in the Dundrod 150 National race.

His quest for 2013 is simple – win an international road race.

"I'm not gunning for it and I don't want to break my neck to win one, but I have the machinery and now it's up to me," he explained.

For a man who rates Joey Dunlop as his all-time favourite rider, Hillier opened his 2013 North West campaign with a solid first qualifying session taking fifth in the Supertwin class, seventh in Supersport and ninth in Superstock.

However he has a lot of work to do in the Superbike class, like other fancied runners having only completed one lap on Tuesday morning after his engine expired.

"Practice went fairly good and a few tweaks here and there should see us in the mix," he said.

"The boys are fitting a new engine in the superbike, so we need a dry session in the morning to get into that first group.

"I have only done one BSB at Thruxton this season, so I have not had much time on the bikes as I would have liked, but I'm sure it won't hinder me too much. I'm not too fussed about BSB now, as once you have done the roads the buzz is completely different .

"The North West is nowhere near as demanding as the TT and a lot easier to learn. It is different all together here with the mass start where you need to be in the leading bunch.

"If I can get a clean start the bikes are good enough to be running at the front. A win would be a dream, maybe a few podiums. If I'm going home on the boat with some silverware I'll be happy."

His interest in road racing goes back to when he was a 12-year-old and going to the TT with his dad.

"I knew from then that was what I wanted to do," he added,

"The TT is the ultimate challenge and it draws you into other areas like the North West, which I really enjoy."

On Joey Dunlop being his favourite rider he added: "I watched him in '97 at the TT. He was a special guy, so smooth and so fast. I also have the greatest respect for the likes of Michael Rutter and John McGuinness and it seems surreal to be racing against them – trying to overtake them is a tough job."

When racing gets underway this evening with Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin events keep an eye out for the number 37 with Hillier on board – they could well be in the leading bunch.

Belfast Telegraph