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Jessopp in 210mph bid at North West 200
8 March 2013
British Superbike rider Martin Jessopp will return to the North West 200 this year, when he feels a top speed of 210mph is within his grasp.
The Yeovil rider was clocked at 208mph on his Riders Ducati at the international road race last year and returns to the event in May to contest the Superbike and Superstock races on a BMW S1000RR.
Jessopp, who competed in the World Supersport Championship in 2012, is also trying to secure a competitive Supersport machine for the North West.
The 27-year-old Riders Motorcycles star said: “I am sure that I could hit 210mph or even 212mph this year if the conditions are right and I can slipstream someone.
“I was out on my own with no-one to slipstream and I hit 206mph on the first lap last year.
“It didn't even get reported back to the pits because the guys with the speed gun thought that it couldn't be working properly to record that speed so soon!” he added.
“I did the 208mph on the third lap. My mechanics were really excited about it when I pulled into the pits but I was more concerned about getting the bike properly set up for the race,” he added.
“When you are doing 180mph on a wide track like Silverstone it doesn't really feel that fast but at the North West the road is so much narrower and everything is going past so quickly.
“It's like you are going down a tunnel and the white lines and hedges become a blur.”
Jessopp may have grabbed the headlines last year with his incredible top speed record, but ultimately it was a year to forget for the English rider, who was forced out of the first Superbike race after the rear tyre on his Ducati delaminated due to the sheer speed of the bike.
The in race two he was taken out in the early stages in an accident involving Gary Johnson, who also collided with Conor Cummins.
Jessopp suffered a broken collarbone in the spill, while Manx star Cummins picked up a wrist injury that ruled him out of the Isle of Man TT.
“To be honest I am coming back to try to right some of the wrongs of the past that I've experienced at the North West,” he said.
“I always qualify well but then it goes wrong on race day.
“The big bike races are the ones I want to win, they are the ones with the best boys in them. I will be concentrating all my efforts on them and using the Superstock bike to get some extra track time.”
Event Director Mervyn Whyte, said he felt Jessopp will be on the rostrum this year with better luck on his side.
"I watched Martin finish runner-up to Michael Rutter in Macau last November," Whyte said.
"I am sure that if he has a better run of luck than he has experienced in the past he will get his first North West podium in May."
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