Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki team has been officially confirmed for this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200.
National road racing’s most successful ever rider will be joined in Portstewart by Scottish competitor Keith Amor, last year’s Supertwin winner and former Grand Prix ace Jeremy McWilliams, plus young Cheshire prospect Connor Behan.
The quartet will compete on the SGS International-backed KMR Kawasaki machines in the Supertwin races, with Behan also competing in both Supersport events on a ZX-6R for the Dungannon team boss.
Amor is also set to line up in the 600cc class on his own Site Sealants B&W Racing Honda.
Former 125cc and Moto3 Grand Prix contender Danny Webb – who will ride for KMR Kawasaki on Supertwin and Superstock machines in his debut at the Isle of Man TT in June – remains in negotiations over the possibility of making his North West 200 bow on May 17.
Farquhar said: “I’d love to see Danny at the North West 200 and hopefully we can reach an agreement with the organisers, because I simply couldn’t afford to run him there out of my own budget.
“I think he’d take it all in his stride with the experience he has at world level. I wouldn’t bet against him on the Supertwin, put it like that.”
Farquhar and Amor – who became the first rider to win for BMW at the North West 200 with victory in the Superstock race in 2010 – have come out of retirement this season and in addition to the international meetings will also return to national road racing at the Tandragee 100 on May 3.
The KMR Kawasaki machines filled the rostrum places in the inaugural Supertwin race at the North West 200 in 2012, with Farquhar taking the win ahead of McWilliams and Michael Rutter.
And the 38-year-old has been putting in the hard graft at his workshop to ensure his ER6 twins will be a match for anything on the grid.
“We are developing the bikes and they will definitely be faster this year,” he said. “They will have to be because the Supertwins races will be very, very competitive and I won’t be surprised if we are coming down into Metropole four or five abreast.”
McWilliams clinched his maiden North West 200 success in 2013 and Farquhar feels the former 250cc Grand Prix race winner represents KMR Kawasaki’s best chance of scaling the top step in three months’ time.
“Jeremy will be our strongest rider and I wouldn’t like to bet my house against him,” he said. “He won last year and he definitely didn’t have the fastest bike in the field so he proved he can race the North West.
“There will be half a dozen riders who could win the Twins race. Dean Harrison, Jamie Cowton, Ivan Lintin, Jamie Hamilton and James Hillier will all be in there and there is talk that Michael Dunlop will be on the grid as well.”
Farquhar, though, believes the man they will all have to beat is Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s James Hillier, who triumphed in the Lightweight TT in 2013 after finishing as the runner-up behind McWilliams at the North West.
“Only a fool would say anything different,” Farquhar said.
“After his TT performance James will be the biggest threat and our main opposition.”