North West 200 favourite Michael Rutter will replace Hudson Kennaugh on Ryan Farquhar’s IEG/KMR Kawasaki in the Supertwin races at the Triangle meeting next week.
South African rider Kennaugh was due to compete for the Dungannon team in the 650cc class as well as in the Superbike and Superstock races.
However, Farquhar – who hasn’t raced since he was seriously hurt in a crash at the North West last year – revealed Kennaugh has withdrawn from the event.
“Hudson rang me and said he wasn’t racing at the North West, so we have sorted a deal for Michael Rutter to ride the bike,” Farquhar said.
“Michael was on the podium on one of my bikes at the 2012 North West and he rode for me at last year’s TT as well.
“I have put a big effort into the bikes for this year. I want them to be as competitive as possible and we will have a test at Kirkistown before the North West.”
Rutter finished on the rostrum in third place in a KMR clean sweep in the Supertwins race at the North West 200 in 2012, with Farquhar taking the honours ahead of Jeremy McWilliams.
Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston will also ride in the Supertwins class for Farquhar on a KMR Kawasaki, which has been painted in the colours of the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance.
English rider Rutter, who has won 13 times at the North West – the same number of victories Joey Dunlop achieved at the event – is set to ride a Yamaha machine in the Supersport races for Stephen Thompson, who lost part of an arm following a crash at the North West in 2015.
The Crumlin man is providing Rutter with the R6 for the North West and Isle of Man TT.
Rutter is also among the leading contenders in the Superbike and Superstock races on the Bathams/SMT BMW machines and heads into the first major international road race of the year on the back of a podium finish in the Superstock 1000 race at Oulton Park.