All roads lead to the North Antrim coast next weekend for what is arguably Northern Ireland's biggest sporting event, the Relentless International North West 200 in association with Blackhorse.
The world famous race will see Blackhorse Kawasaki's Ian Lougher make his much anticipated competitive debut in 2010 and it would take a brave person to bet against the team's highly experienced manager/rider having a major say in race proceedings.
Making his NW200 debut in 1988, and having only missed one year since, 2010 is Lougher's 21st year competing on the famous North Antrim Triangle circuit which links the towns of Portstewart, Portrush and Coleraine, and 8 NW200 wins and 26 rostrum finishes shows the affable Welshman is certainly no stranger to the spoils of NW200 success.
Now more regularly found in his managerial role within the BSB arena, where his 2 man Blackhorse Kawasaki team is the official Kawasaki Motors UK supported BSB Superstock squad, this year's International NW200 kicks off proper Ian's own road racing schedule where he goes in the maximum allowed five races - two Supersport 600cc, the 1000cc Superstock and both Superbike races.
For the first time in 5 years, this year sees a pared down Blackhorse Kawasaki "road racing" rider line-up, with Lougher being the sole rider for the team's International road race exploits, which will allow Ian to focus fully on his own racing.
Coupled with switching the Blackhorse Finance Ltd backed team to Kawasaki's this year, Lougher is highly confident the changes will put his "road" race campaign back at the sharp end.
Practice for the North-West 200 takes place on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th May with the six race programme on Saturday 15th May. The event organisers are this year operating a Thursday daytime practice session in a bid to further improve safety at the event. Roads will close after the morning rush hour at 9.30am and re-open at 3pm. There will be no change to the Tuesday practice session with roads closing at 5pm and re-opening by 9.30pm as per last year.
The event regularly attracts crowds in access of 100.000 people, and this combined with the tremendous media coverage, will provide the team's sponsors with extensive publicity.