Jessopp set for North West 200 return

Published Monday, 03 February 2014
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Martin Jessopp, the fastest man ever around the Vauxhall International North West 200, will return to Portrush in May and he is hoping he can go even faster.

Jessopp set for North West 200 return
Martin Jessop is looking forward to the North West 200 on 17 May. (© Stephen Davison Photo)

Jessopp blasted through the speed trap of the 8.9 mile north coast circuit in 2012 at a 208mph on a Ducati.

His MotorcycleRiders.com squad switched to BMW machinery in 2013 and the Yeovil man will arrive at this year's North West 200 practice on a heavily modified superbike.

"We have done an awful lot of development work on the BMWs since last year and we have built different bikes for the roads and BSB for this season," his father Phil, who runs the team, explained.

"We have used MotoGP technology in the back end of the new HP4 to develop a new swinging arm and we have also designed new yokes and forks for the front end to help make the bike more stable. The engine will have more power as well as a new BMW factory electronics system."

The machine improvements are welcome news for his son Martin.

"We struggled a bit in BSB with the new bike last year so we went away and looked at it over the winter."

Martin said as he returned from winter training in Spain at the weekend.

"You need a really fast and stable bike for road circuits like the North West. We know the engine is fast because we were the fastest through the speed trap at Macau last year so most of the development has focussed on the chassis and we will have a bike that is designed to perform better on the roads."

2014 will also see the 28-year-old extending his road racing outings to take in the Isle of Man TT as well as his regular appearances at the North West 200 and the Macau Grand Prix.

But it is the North West that remains at the top of his priorities.

"I will be going to the TT to learn my way around this year but I am coming to the North West to target podiums and race wins." Jessop explained.

"Years ago people used to talk about racing at the North West to get the bike set up for the TT but the North West is a huge event that stands on its own nowadays and I am really looking forward to getting back there."

Jessopp's 2013 North West practice was hampered when he blew an engine on his BMW Superbike on his first flying lap on the Tuesday afternoon.

"I was right in front of Michael Dunlop when it let go and he got sprayed with oil." Martin recalled.

"Then it rained for the Thursday session so to be honest I didn't really get to see how the BMWs would have performed there last year."

Event director Mervyn Whyte thinks this could be Martin Jessopp's year at the North West.

"Martin, his father Phil and their MotorcycleRiders.com team are a really professional squad and by building a 'roads special' BMW superbike they are making it very clear that they mean business on the North coast come May," he said.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Adrian in Coleraine wrote (211 days ago):
Hes not exactly laverty !
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