Vauxhall International North West 200 figurehead Mervyn Whyte expects new BMW signing Michael Dunlop to be right in the hunt for race wins at the north coast meeting in May.
Dunlop has committed to the 2014 season after pondering whether or not to take a break from the sport and will ride a factory-supported BMW S1000RR at the North West, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.
The Ballymoney man will also use BMW power in the Superstock class with the S1000RR HP4 and will make a decision on a Supersport machine soon.
It’s a brand new challenge for the seven-time TT winner this year as he takes on the might of the Japanese manufacturers, but NW200 Event Director Whyte has no doubt Dunlop will be a major contender at the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit as he chases his first victory in the Superbike category in Portstewart.
“We have already agreed terms with Michael to ride at this year’s North West and it will be really exciting for the fans to see him on the grid on the new BMWs,” said Whyte.
“The BMW factory have won races in World Superbikes and there is no doubt that with the new bike’s speed and Michael’s talent he will be challenging for North West wins in May.”
In 2010, Scotland’s Keith Amor – who is making a racing comeback this season along with Ryan Farquhar – gave BMW its maiden victory at the North West 200 when he claimed the honours in the Superstock race.