Belfast Telegraph

NW200 will remain in Jessopp's diary despite his revelation that he's stepping away from the TT

By Roy Harris

Martin Jessopp has announced that he will no longer compete at the Isle of Man TT, but is not quitting racing altogether.

Jessopp has taken the decision after it was recently revealed that Yeovil-based Riders Motorcycles - owned by his father, Phil - would be ceasing their involvement in racing.

The three-time North West 200 winner and two-time TT podium finisher said: "Although Riders Motorcycles will no longer be on the grid, I am still planning to do some racing at selected meetings including the North West and some BSB if I can find the right machinery and backing.

"However, I have decided the time is right to step away from the TT after five years. This has been on my mind for some time and after completing a 131mph lap last June I knew in my own mind then it was to be one of my last laps. It's time for me to concentrate on the business."

The 33-year-old racked up a NW200 double in 2017 - in the opening Supersport race and first Supertwin event - before also winning the opening Supertwin race last year.

He recorded his fifth Macau Grand Prix podium in November.

Riders Motorcycles have been stalwarts of the BSB and international road racing scene for many years with riders of the calibre of Stuart Easton and Michael Rutter in the team prior to Jessopp taking over racing duties.

The big question prior to the North West 200 in May is whether the John McGuinness/Norton combination will be on the grid for the Superbike races.

The machine currently does not meet the FIM homologation rules to participate in the event, but what a draw it would be if this rule was relaxed and the Norton made the grid for the 90th anniversary meeting.

It will be two years since McGuinness had his huge accident during final practice for the North West when he and the Honda Fireblade parted company at Primrose, leaving the well-respected and popular veteran with serious leg injuries that meant he missed the last two TT events before returning to Mountain Circuit competition and winning the Senior Classic TT last August.

With Michael Dunlop advertising his MD Racing garage backboards for sale, speculation has grown about the 18-time TT winner's future in the sport following his brother William's tragic death at Skerries last year.

Michael has kept a low profile on the motorcycling scene since, while concentrating on his business ventures.

Does he need to race again? No. Will he want to race again? Yes. If I were to hazard a guess it could well be on Tyco BMW Superbike machinery at selected meetings only.

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