Michael Rutter isn’t coming to this year’s North West 200 just to make up the numbers.
The thirteen-times winner says he is far from finished as he targets more success on the Triangle circuit in May.
Rutter has joined Rico Penzkofer’s Penz13.com team to ride BMW S1000RR Superbike and Superstock machines this season with backing from Bathams.
He will be joined in the team by Crumlin man Stephen Thompson and Canadian Dan Kruger.
Rutter is level with Joey Dunlop on the all-time winners’ list at the North West, only two behind Robert Dunlop, the most successful rider ever in the history of the event.
His last victory came in the Superstock race in 2012 but Rutter feels he still has another victory in him at the North West 200 and Macau, where he has won a record eight times.
“I am not finished yet – especially not with the North West and Macau, where I would like to add another win even though the competition isn’t getting any easier,” he said.
“The TT is a bit of different story but I am looking forward to going around the Mountain Course with the bikes I will have and the team behind me.
“I am targeting top-six finishes; there is still a lot of work to do at all ends for the team and myself, but I can fully focus on the job now after everything has been sorted.”
Another veteran, Dungannon’s Ryan Farquhar, will return to big bike racing at the North West 200.
Farquhar retired from racing after the death of his uncle, Trevor Ferguson, at the 2012 Manx Grand Prix to concentrate on preparing machinery for other riders. After returning to race in the Supertwins class last season he has decided to launch a full on assault on the bigger machinery this year.
And he will be joined on his KMR/SGS Kawasaki team by former MotoGP legend Jeremy McWilliams.
“I am quite confident that I can be competitive on a big bike at the North West.” Ryan said.
“I have been training hard all winter and now I just need to get bike fit. I really can’t see why I can’t give some of the big boys a run for their money.”
“I have been working hard on getting all the bikes ready and I will have my first outing at Scarborough,” Ryan said.