Honda TT Legends rider John McGuinness is relishing the opportunity to return to roads action at the Relentless International North West 200 this week.
McGuinness and the official Honda team missed the event in 2011 due to a date clash with a round of the Endurance World Championship.
However, the 17-times Isle of Man TT winner and team-mate Simon Andrews will spearhead the Honda Legends challenge in the Superbike races at the famous event in Northern Ireland on Saturday.
McGuinness first took part in the North West 200 in 1994 as he made his road racing debut.
The Morecambe ace secured his maiden NW200 victory in 2000 and has since claimed a further four wins around the 8.9 mile course, with the 40-year-old's most recent success coming in the opening Superbike race in 2010.
“The North West 200 has been part of my racing career for such a long time. It's 18 years since my first one and I've only missed two events in that time – one when it was cancelled due to the foot and mouth crisis and last year when the date clashed with the Albacete round of World Endurance,” said McGuinness.
“I absolutely love the North West – there is nothing quite like Northern Irish hospitality. It's a unique circuit and we race wheel-to-wheel at incredibly high speeds.
“It will be really nice to make a return to the event for 2012 and I hope we can make it count.”
Andrews, last year's fastest newcomer at the TT, was poised to make his debut at the North West last year but missed out on the opportunity when the event was abandoned due to an oil spill, with poor weather and a hoax bomb alert adding to the organisers' woes.
“I took part in the practice sessions last year, so I while I have some limited experience of the North West 200 circuit, I'm still classed as a newcomer this year as I didn't actually race,” said Andrews.
“I do know that it's very, very fast and I'm looking forward to getting out there and hopefully being able to compete in the race itself.
“It's pretty wet here at the moment so we're all hoping it clears up over the next few days and we get to give the massive crowd that make the journey here a good show.”
Lincolnshire's Gary Johnson will also ride in the Honda Legends colours in the Superstock class as he returns to the event for the fifth time.
Johnson will ride for Clive Padgett's team in the Superbike races and will run his own CBR600RR in the Supersport events.