By Barry Russell
Bournemouth Kawasaki's James Hillier is looking to round off a strong international road racing season by getting among the factory bikes and road racing legends in next week's City of Dreams Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The 26 year-old Englishman has firmly established his road racing credentials during 2011, running consistently in the top ten at the Isle of Man TT, Ulster GP and North West 200.
Hillier arguably needs a factory seat to showcase his ability and it looked as though the dream ride had arrived when he looked set to run alongside Gary Johnson on a Crescent Suzuki.
However, the team's plan changed, leaving both riders looking for competitive bikes.
With the event organisers keen to secure their services for 2011, Johnson ended up with the IGT Suzuki by TAS, while Hillier will be competing on his familiar Bournemouth Kawasaki, with local sponsorship from Mocha Clubs.
Hillier wants to prove a point, having run strongly throughout the event last year, qualifying on the second row on the powerful but wallowing AIM Suzuki and battling for fourth place with Gary Johnson and Simon Andrews until the right side of his rear tyre gave up the fight on the eighth lap.
Looking forward to the Chinese season closer, Hillier said, “The bike is being prepared by Bournemouth Kawasaki to suit the nature of the Macau circuit and hotter temperatures.
"It's their first visit to the event but my third and after not finishing last year due to a tyre issue, I'm determined to achieve a strong result this year.
“We will be running Pirellis, which I have used all year and have the bike working well on. It's hard to practice the track from home but I've been watching videos of laps so I can be strong out the box.”
Practice, qualifying and warm-up session on 16-19th November are at 7:30am (GMT+8) and the race will be at 3:30pm on Saturday 19th. Highlights of the race will be shown in Asia on ESPN Star Sports on Sunday 20th November.