Jeremy Mcwilliams Joins Wilson Craig Racing For Supersport Outing At 2023 fonaCab And Nicholl Oils North West 200May 03, 2023
Jeremy McWilliams’ love affair with the fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 is set to continue as the veteran ex-Grand Prix star joins forces with the Wilson Craig Honda squad for this year’s event on May 7-13.
Just one year shy of his sixtieth birthday, the Newtownabbey rider will race a CBR600RR in the Strain Engineering and Tides Restaurant Supersport races for Darren Gilpin’s squad. A three-time Supertwin race winner at the event, he will also combine his 600cc outings with appearances in the Milltown Service Station and JM Paterson Twins’ events aboard a Bayview Hotel Paton.
McWilliams rode a Wilson Craig Honda in the 600cc races at last year’s Sunflower Trophy event. The opportunity to renew his connection with the team for the NW200 came after Matthew Rees crashed out of the recent Cookstown 100 road races, breaking his back and wrist.
“Matthew will require an operation on his wrist and he is very disappointed to be missing the North West.” WCR team principal, Darren Gilpin explained.
“I had already spoken to Jeremy about joining the team for the North West. He has a lot of experience and our team also has plenty of racing experience so I think we all know what to expect.”
McWilliams says there was never any doubt he would be back racing at this year’s NW200 and with a new Honda engine on its way from the Ten Kate World Supersport squad he is looking forward to his annual outing around the 8.9 mile Triangle course.
“I never envisaged I wouldn’t be back.” he smiled. “When the opportunity arose to be on good bikes like the Wilson Craig machines and the Bayview Paton it was one not to be missed.”
The former Grand Prix winner claimed a third place finish in Thursday evening’s 600cc race at last year’s event, producing a brilliant performance on a Burrows/RK Racing Yamaha in wet conditions behind Alastair Seeley and Davey Todd.
“It was a decent scrap.” McWilliams, who maintains his bike fitness by competing in the Baggers series in the USA and working as a test rider for KTM, recalled.
“I was battling with Davey in the wet and the circuit was in good shape. It was as much fun riding in the wet as the dry, just a lot colder! By the end I think all three of us thought we had given it everything.”
The veteran racer says everything depends upon getting a good start in the frenetic Supersport class, something he missed out on during Saturday’s race 12 months ago.
“You have to get away in the wave if you want to get the slipstream and stay with the leaders to get yourself into the right place at the right time.” he explained.
“Unfortunately, the pack got broken up last year in Saturday’s race when James Hillier crashed.”
There was some consolation for McWilliams later in the day as he secured the final rostrum placing in the Paterson Supertwin race behind Joe Loughlin and Lee Johnston after Richard Cooper was disqualified because of a machine infringement. The three-time Supertwin race winner will be back on the Italian-built Paton next week.
“Saturday’s racing last year was the best I can remember at the North West 200.” McWilliams said.
“Let’s hope it is the same next week.”
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