Former MotoGP and British Superbike star James Ellison will make his North West 200 debut this year on a Suzuki GSX-R1000.
The Kendal native has joined up with Powerslide Motorcycles and OMG Racing to ride at this year’s event, which is something he has been wanting to do for almost two decades.
“I’ve wanted to do this for years. We came here back in 2001 with Marty Nutt when Billy was in charge, it was the year foot and mouth stopped everything. So we did demonstration laps and skids and wheelies on the European Superstock bikes,” said Ellison, speaking to bikesportnews.com this morning.
“Giacomo Agostini was staying in our camper, which was surreal, the Dunlops were in the paddock as well, so there was a load of us that went out and put on a show.
“It really appealed to me back then but since I have committed to BSB, World Supersport, MotoGP, I’ve always had other commitments but it was at the back of my mind.
“It wasn’t until this year that my calendar is a bit more open and I can do it. I’m doing World Endurance with Omega Maco Yamaha. Malaysia was the first round and the next three leave some gaps in between to do other things.
Now, the North West is getting close and Brad Clarke, who is an old friend and loyal sponsor, owns Powerslide Motorcycles, and he is doing it this year. I said I would go and spanner for him to which he said he would put on another bike.
“I thought why not and it escalated from there. Over the last week, we have been hatching plans, chatting to Mervyn Whyte, Brad has been talking to OMG Racing and they have agreed to support us so we will have some good kit out there.
“It has re-ignited a passion to do the North West that I had years ago but I’m not going to make a second career out of this and start doing the TT, it’s this event that has appealed for years.
“I know which way the course goes, I’ve ridden it, watched it every year as lots of mates race here. And Richard Cooper has promised to give me a tow…”
Ellison will have a Superstock-spec GSX-R at his disposal which he may also race in the Superbike class.