Australian David Johnson is set to become the highest profile newcomer at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 on May12-16 on an Ice Valley BMW.
The Adelaide man has never raced at the seaside venue in spite of competing in all the other international road races.
“I have always wanted to do the North West but the deal has always gone wrong at the last minute!” he said as he announced his debut on one of Paul Shoesmith’s 2015 spec BMW S1000RRs in the Superbike and Superstock races.
Johnson has established a strong pedigree on both the roads and tracks in recent seasons. He is currently competing in the BSB series on a MotoDex BMW but his best results have come in the British Superstock championship where he has been a regular winner.
The 30 year old finished fifth in the series in 2005 although injuries have hampered his final position in the overall standings over the last couple of years.
Johnson made his debut at the TT five years ago, scoring his best result last season when he finished fourth in the Superstock TT on a ZX10 Kawasaki. The Aussie doesn’t rule out a similar performance on the Triangle circuit.
“It will be really important to get plenty of practice time at the North West and for conditions to be dry because I don’t like riding in the wet on the roads.” he said.
“If I get enough time on the bike and I feel comfortable then I will definitely give it a crack. I don’t have any real expectations but maybe a top ten is possible.”
Team boss Shoesmith is equally enthusiastic about his North West recruit’s abilities and had no hesitation in providing him with a bike.
“David has ridden for me before at the Ulster Grand Prix and we have been good mates for a long time.” the Stockport man said.
“When I heard he didn’t have a North West ride I stuck him on one of the four new BMWs I have this year.”
49 year old Shoesmith will also be racing at the North West, riding another S1000RR BMW in the Superbike and Superstock races alongside an ER6 Kawasaki in the Supertwins and a R6 Yamaha in Supersport.
“I have been coming to the North West every year since 2007 and I love it.” Shoesmith smiled.
“There is nowhere else where we are at top speed for so long and it is a great social event as well as great racing.”
Shoesmith has been instrumental in introducing an impressive list of riders to the between the hedges scene, including Peter Hickman who became the North West’s fastest ever newcomer on one of the immaculate Ice Valley BMWs last year.
“I think my own best finish at the North West was a 10th in a Superbike race a couple of years ago but I don’t really race for the results.” Shoesmith said.
“I know that I am not going to win because there are so many faster and younger riders out there but I do it for the fun of it and I like to bring a team. A lot of talented guys like Peter, Simon Andrews, Gary Johnson, Dean Harrison and Branko Srdanov have ridden my bikes and now we have David.”
THOMPSON AND KRUGER JOIN RUTTER
The BMW Motorrad Penz13.com team has finalized their line-up for the North West 200.
Local man Stephen Thompson and Canadian Dan Kruger will join Michael Rutter on the grid at Portrush on the German team’s S1000RRs.
Thompson, who raced his new bike at the Enkalon Trophy Meeting at Bishopscourt and Kirkistown at Easter, is no a stranger to the Penz13.com team having raced on their machine at the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.
Rutter and Thompson will race at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Frohburg and the Macau Grand Prix for the German team in 2015.
“After riding with the Penz13.com team at Macau last season I am happy to be part of this highly professional team.” the Crumlin man said.
“I’m hoping they can continue to help me gain good results at the North West and it’s nice to be team mates with Michael Rutter again.”
Dan Kruger’s 2015 season began in the Chinese Superbike Championship last weekend.
The Canadian finished third and fourth in the opening rounds and he will race for the Penz13.com squad at the North West 200 in May in what will be his second visit to the seaside venue.
“I have a year of road racing under my belt and also a year with this team.” Kruger said.
“They prepare the best bikes in the paddock and are a really good team to race for.
The NW200 will be a tough one but I am looking forward to having Michael Rutter as a team mate.”