North West 200 has announced a sponsorship deal that will see Michael Rutter compete in Coca-Cola colours during the 2009 British Superbike Championship.

In the year that the North West 200 celebrates its 80th anniversary, the Kennedy Group will continue to back the event as the title sponsor but will now receive additional backing from American drinks giant Coca-Cola, who will sponsor the event through the Coca-Cola Zero brand.

In addition, the firm's logos will appear on Michael Rutter's Yamaha R1 in 2009. Team-mates Chris Walker and Graeme Gowland will race blue Yamahas with sponsorship from Henderson and Motorpoint.

"The British Superbike Championship proved to be an excellent marketing tool for the North West 200 during the 2008 season and we are very excited to be entering the 2009 series with a new partner," said Kennedy Group director Alistair Kennedy.

Referring to their sponsorship of the North West 200, Coke Zero's Maire Campbell was delighted to be returning the Coca-Cola brand to the event having previously provided backing between 1992 and 2002.

"We are delighted to be supporting the 80th anniversary year of this highly respected sporting event. As a local company we are proud to partner with the Coleraine & District Motor Club, the Kennedy Group, local funders, sponsors and race organisers on delivering a spectacular 80th anniversary event."

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