HOMEGROWN and international North West 200 rookies hit the north coast today looking to get a headstart as they prepare for their debuts this season.
Led by former British Superbike star James Ellison, 10 newcomers gathered at the Triangle circuit this morning in a bid to learn more about the famous venue as well as the dos and don’ts of being a rookie at the opening international road race of the year.
Among them was Cork man Mike Brown, who just last week was announced as RK Racing/Burrows Engineering’s new rider for 2020 as Dubliner Derek Sheils and the team parted company.
“It looked like a very, very fast track when I eventually found it.” the 30-year-old admitted after scoping out the NW200 circuit.
Alongside outings on a R6 Yamaha in the Supersport events, Browner will face a major speed boost when he rides a GSXR1000 Suzuki in the Superbike and Superstock races during his North West debut.
“There really is no comparison between the North West circuit and the TT or any of the Irish National circuits. It will be a whole new kettle of fish for me and I will be taking it step by step.
“There isn’t any pressure on me in my first year.”
Local rider David Graham also took part in the two induction days and will compete in both Supertwin races on his Patch Racing SV650 Suzuki.
“I want to come to the North West and learn, not do anything stupid and qualify.” the 35 year old smiled.
“There are a few other boys in the races I’m in that I’ve raced against before so I will try to stick with them and have a dice.”
Polish racer Krystian Paluch will join the grid after four season racing in Europe’s International Road Racing Championship (IRRC).
The 38 year old has competed at Horice, Frohburg and Hengelo as well as the Manx Grand Prix on a 600cc Honda, and will ride the same machine in the Supersport races at Portrush.
“The circuit is easy to remember but very fast.” Paluch said after his first sighting lap of the 8.9 mile track. “The North West 200 is the next level for me and I want to ride with the best road racers in the world and improve.”
American racer Chris Sarbora, however, had the longest trip of all as he travelled from Seattle on the west coast of America for his first view of the North West circuit.
The 34 year old raced the Manx Grand Prix in 2011 and 2018 and the TT in 2012, and is keen to push onto the Irish roads scene.
“I was a mechanic for Sam West at last year’s Ulster and am keen to ride in an Irish road race,” the American explained. “I will be listening very carefully as Steve Plater takes us around for our first laps.”
Sarbora will ride a S1000RR BMW in the Superbike and Stocker races and a R6 Yamaha in the 600cc races.
Fellow newcomers include EMRA regular and Powerslide boss Brad Clarke as well as Manx Grand Prix podium finisher Rad Hughes.
*Image: Stephen Davison