James Hillier took the third International road race podium of his career at this week’s International North West 200 meeting and although wet weather caused the early abandonment of the race action, the Quattro Plant Kawasaki rider laid a firm marker down to more than indicate he’ll be amongst the favourites at the forthcoming Isle of Man TT races.
It was a busy week for James as he was one of only a handful of riders scheduled to contest all eight races, three on Thursday and five on Saturday and although problems with the Superbike in qualifying kept him down the order, he was handily placed in all of his other classes. Thursday’s racing saw damp but ever-improving conditions and after a solid tenth in the opening Supersport race, James had a superb ride in the Supertwins race to take second, just 0.8s adrift of the race victor and former 250cc Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams. He then rounded out his day with another strong ride, this time taking ninth in the six-lap Superstock race whilst team-mate Steve Heneghan came home in 26th in what would prove to be his only race outing. The weather worsened considerably for the feature race day on Saturday and it meant organisers were only able to run one race before the torrential rain led to the rest of the programme being cancelled. It was the second Supersport event that took place and James ensured his 100% record of top ten finishes remained intact with a sensible, mature ride into eighth.
James Hillier: “The weather’s been a factor all week and had it not been for that I think my results would have been better but I’m happy with how the racing’s gone and with the progress we’ve made with the bikes. Obviously, the podium on the Twin was the highlight and it’s great to know that we’re right in the ballpark again in the class and well placed for success again at the TT. It’s a shame we didn’t get more races on the Saturday but the rain was really heavy and the spray along the straights was really poor so the organisers made the right call for sure.” “Apart from the problem with the Superbike, I’m happy now with the set-up of the bikes and with the weather being tricky, it was simply a case of riding within myself and keeping out of trouble. I finished in the top ten in all of the races and my name’s right in amongst the list of contenders for the TT.”
Pete Extance, Team Manager: “Despite Saturday being a washout, James and the team gained some valuable time on the roads and with a superb podium and three other top ten finishes, we’re quite happy to head to the Isle of Man on a high. For Quattro Plant and Bournemouth Kawasaki, this is hopefully going to be an amazing few weeks with James running the number one plate at the TT and I’m sure both he and the team will be up to the job. It’s a real honour to have my bikes as number one at the TT and I’d like to thank all of our sponsors, James and the team staff for getting us in this position.”
The world famous Isle of Man TT Races get underway on Saturday 25th May with the first race, the 6-lap Superbike TT taking place the following Saturday, June 1st. Tags: eazi-grip, hillier, north west 200, podium, sponsor