NW200: Ian Hutchinson 'relieved' over racing comeback

Ian Hutchinson on the Honda Racing Fireblade at Mallory Park.
Ian Hutchinson on the Honda Racing Fireblade at Mallory Park.

Honda Racing’s Ian Hutchinson has spoken of his relief after recovering sufficiently to compete in the opening international road race of the season at the North West 200 next week.

The Yorkshire rider was in a race against time to make the grid but Hutchinson returned to the track at Mallory Park last Friday before competing in a club meeting at the same venue over the Bank Holiday weekend, winning two races and finishing as the runner-up in another on the Fireblade SP2.

After passing a medical conducted by the ACU to obtain his racing licence, Hutchinson has been cleared to race at the North West, where practice commences on Tuesday on the North Coast.

“I am really relieved to now be in this position and able to go racing. Within a week of having the frame off I managed some test days with the Honda team and covered 190 laps of Mallory without any problems,” said the 16-time Isle of Man TT winner, who broke his left leg in a crash in the Senior race last year and had to have his ankle removed as a result.

“Of course we’ve not had as much testing as you’d normally want before you head to the NW200, but I’m feeling comfortable with the Fireblade and I know what I am doing there. The team, Lee [Johnston] and Steve [Mercer] have all done a great job developing the bike for me, so a huge thanks to them.

“There are a few small things to work on, but once we get to the North West we can start playing about for the roads. With the Mallory races across the weekend we’ve fulfilled part of my requirements with the ACU regarding signatures that are needed for the TT course licence, so with two more from the North West we’ll be there,” he added.

“It’s been a tough journey getting here so a huge thanks to the fans for their encouragement and support along the way, Honda for being so understanding; there’s not been any pressure from them, and also to Mr. Krkovic for rebuilding my leg yet again.”