Pirelli will be equipping their most formidable line-up ever of top riders and teams as they look to take a firm grip at the World famous North West 200 road races. The 2010 Pirelli line-up includes multiple NW, TT and British Superbike winners Easton, Seeley, Anstey, Donald and Rutter who between them have amassed a total of 24 wins at this unique road racing circuit.
Stuart Easton returns to the North West 200 on his Swan Honda as a red hot favourite given his British Superbike form on the Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres. Easton returns following a two year absence after a dominant roads victory in the Macau Grand Prix but is yet to taste North West victory.
He is joined by the lightning fast Relentless by TAS trio of Alastair Seeley plus antipodeans Cameron Donald and Bruce Anstey on their 'roads' prepared Suzuki GSXR1000 machines. And the dark horse of the Pirelli line-up, the North West 12 victory hero Michael Rutter, who has re-found his old form with a recent British Superbike podium in British Superbikes.
New Zealander Anstey, who seemingly came out of nowhere to win at the North West on his debut in 2002, has now totalled 9 wins and 18 podiums yet rides very infrequently, gearing up his season around the NW and Isle of Man TT. His Australian team-mate Cameron Donald is yet to win at the North West but is still reckoned to be one of the men to beat for this year's edition, especially after his 130mph practice lap at last year's TT.
Alastair Seeley from Carrickfergus, has recently shot to prominence having completely dominated the National Superstock class within British Superbikes and taken an early podium in the BSB class proper this year. He also has two North West victories to his name and will be looking to extend that total! The Relentless TAS squad have lined up an awesome trio for the event this year as they look to do their bit as Suzuki celebrates 25 years of the legendary GSXR machine.
Michael Rutter from Brierley Hill, West Midlands is now aged 37 years old but has recently re-asserted himself in British Superbikes as he has been re-united with his beloved Ducati machinery. With 12 wins at the famous 'Triangle' course Rutter has his eyes on the overall rankings as only the legendary Dunlop names stand above him with Robert having taken 15 and Joey 13 victories. In 2004 he became the first to break the 200 mph barrier, at a speed of 201.1 mph on the official speed trap!
Other Pirelli supported riders are ardent 'roads' campaigners, Conor Cummins, who is 'the fastest racer in the World' following his sensational lap record of 133.282mph at the 2009 Dundrod 150 road race, Guy Martin who has surprisingly yet to take his first NW victory and Adrian Archibald who does have a win to his name. Martin Jessop will also be making his NW debut as team-mate to Rutter and he has shown great form on his Riders Ducati in BSB regularly running up the front.
Considered to be one of the world's most exciting and fastest road races, the International North West 200's 8.96 mile long course is a challenge to rider, machine and tyres alike as riders slipstream each other at incredible speeds of over 200mph, on the long back straight. The circuit really tests handling and performance with differing surfaces, adverse cambers, first gear hairpin bends to super-fast open corners and straights. North West 200 Race Director Mervyn Whyte MBE commented “It's great that Pirelli invests so much effort into this event and are supporting so many riders, they can clearly see benefits in being able to promote North West wins around the World.”
The North West 200 is recognised to be Northern Ireland's largest single day sporting event with around one hundred and twenty thousand spectators expected to gather at the famous 'triangle' course. The Relentless International North West 200 in association with Black Horse takes place on Saturday 15th May (roads close 10am). Official practice sessions are scheduled for Tuesday 11th May (roads close 5pm to 9.30pm) and Thursday 13th May (roads close 9.30am to 3.30pm). For more information visit www.northwest200.org
The challenging course is seen as a real test to riders, machines and tyres alike and also a great indication of form for the prestigious Isle of Man TT a month later. Pirelli technicians are also able to get good feedback from the event to use on the 'Island'.
Jason Griffiths, Pirelli Racing Manager, summed up, “With our friends from TAS, Swan Honda and Rutter's Riders Ducati squad we feel confident this is our strongest ever line-up for the North West 200. Conor and Guy also have the potential for their first win so it's going to be amazingly competitive racing. It's an event that means a lot to us because of the heritage, crowds and publicity so we give it our all and have invested time and money into 'road racing' over the years. The high speeds and temperature build up makes the chosen tyre compounds critical but we know our 'roads', World and British Superbike experience has helped in this development.“
More information regarding Pirelli's entire range of racing and road tyres can be found at www.pirelli.com.