NW200: McWilliams thrilled to team up with Farquhar in hunt for more glory
Veteran rider Jeremy McWilliams will return to the Vauxhall International North West 200 later this month, riding an ER6 Kawasaki for Ryan Farquhar's KMR team in both Supertwin races.
The former Grand Prix winner made his North West debut in 2012 and has six podium finishes to his name, including wins in Supertwin races in 2013 and 2015 on KMR machines.
Now a veteran campaigner at 54 years of age, McWilliams is determined to get back on the top step of the podium at the showpiece event, which is being held between May 13-19.
"I would never take part in any race if I didn't think I could win," McWilliams said. "Standing on the North West podium has been such a highlight of my career and I think I can do it again.
"However, with riders of the calibre of Martin Jessopp, James Cowton, Adam McLean, Derek McGee, Dan Cooper and Ivan Lintin in the field, I know I will be up against it."
Farquhar, team boss of KMR Kawasaki, agrees that his latest signing is capable of taking another North West win.
"I have no doubt about that," the Dungannon man said. "But the Supertwin class is as tough a race to win as any. We have taken a big step with our bikes this year, making them more powerful and lighter, but we won't know what we are up against until we get to the North West."
The 11th-hour deal means McWilliams won't enjoy much time on the 2018-spec KMR E6 before practice begins on May 15, something that does not cause him much concern.
"I wouldn't be happy going to the North West on anything but one of Ryan's bikes," McWilliams said. "I always feel a bit of a pleb until Tuesday practice is over, because I'm never up to speed. I need until Thursday to get into my rhythm, to gel with the bike and find my way around.
"I enjoy the way the North West is set up because you have time to enjoy the event. Once you get Tuesday out of the way you can settle into your riding and try to get up to speed. There is time to think about things, assess where you can improve and then come back and go faster."
McWilliams admits his wife Jill and sons Jack and Zak took convincing that his North West return was a good idea explaining: "We are a close-knit family and I wouldn't have done it without their support. We get a kick out of competing there together."
McWilliams' pedigree is impressive, so another North West podium? It is not out of the question.
Meanwhile, Revo Husqvarna motocross rider Martin Barr took fifth and seventh-place finishes in Tuesday's Russian European 300cc races in Orlyonok.
That clinched fifth place overall and elevated him to the top of the Championship after three rounds of 11.
Barr returns to British MX2 action this weekend at Blaxhall in Suffolk, hoping to improve his Championship position of fifth before his home round at Desertmartin on June 24.