With its BSB Superbike and British Sidecar Championship campaigns well under way, the Bournemouth Kawasaki team now shifts its focus to the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Northern Ireland from 15th to 19th May.
Riding under the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki flag, road race specialist James Hillier is back for his ninth consecutive season with the team and is hoping to claim podium finishes in the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock 1000 classes.
After mixed fortunes in his 2017 campaign, James’ first port of call is the International North West 200, an 8.9-mile circuit which takes place on the streets of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush in Northern Ireland.
The 33-year-old from Ringwood in Hampshire is aiming to improve on his performance from last season, where he enjoyed no fewer than five top ten finishes. The highlight was a close third in the opening Supersport 600cc race on Thursday evening which followed previous podium finishes in 2012 and 2016, that he then backed up with a sixth on Saturday, the feature race day.
In addition, James claimed sixth and ninth in the two Superstock races and eighth in the first Superbike encounter to complete a solid week’s racing on the high-speed ‘Triangle circuit’.
With minimal changes made to the bikes from last year, James will compete in the Superbike and Superstock classes on the Kawasaki ZX-10R and the Supersport races on the Kawasaki ZX-6R. There are two races for each class with two on Thursday evening and a further four on Saturday.
James Hillier said: “We didn’t quite fulfill our ambitions last season, but I feel like we’re returning in a strong position to make amends and clock up some podiums finishes.
“I’ve managed to get some quality time in the saddle at Donington Park and Brands Hatch but can’t wait to get on those open roads in Northern Ireland for the North West 200 and the Isle of Man for the TT.
“The bikes feel good, the team is working together really well and I’m in good shape.”
Team owner Pete Extance said: “Heading into May signals the start of the international road racing season and the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad turns its attention away from BSB to Portrush in Northern Ireland and then on to the Isle of Man.
“James Hillier has been testing in readiness for the NW200 and is in great shape to hit the ground running at the famous Irish circuit from Tuesday 15th May.
“The team will then head directly to the IOM TT where we will be looking to secure wins and podiums in the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock 1000 classes.”