Crumlin’s Stephen Thompson will return to motorcycling this year after joining forces with his brother Paul to run North West 200 star Michael Rutter on a Yamaha Supersport machine.
Thompson was badly injured in a crash at the North West in 2015 and later had part of his lower left arm amputated as a result. He was caught up in an accident in the Superstock race involving Dean Harrison and Horst Saiger, which also left a female spectator – Violet McAfee – in a serious condition.
The 40-year-old has kept a low profile ever since but now feels the time is right to fuel his passion for the sport after admitting he has ‘really missed the bikes’.
In an interview with the News Letter, the popular Ulsterman said that Rutter could potentially race the Yamaha YZF-R6 at the North West in May, but confirmed that the veteran Midlands rider would definitely be on the machine for the Supersport races at the Isle of Man TT in June.
Thompson also revealed that he will run bike at the Ulster Grand Prix in August, with a rider yet to be confirmed, and possibly the Manx Grand Prix.
“We’ll be running the bike definitely at the Isle of Man TT but I’m not so sure about the North West, because Michael is still in talks with the organisers.
“If he wants to ride the bike at the North West, then it’s there for him and also wherever else he wants to ride it,” he said.
“We’ll definitely have someone riding the bike as well at Dundrod and probably a couple of other wee meetings, and maybe the Manx Grand Prix.
“It’s a new Yamaha R6 but the bikes are late coming in this year and we won’t have it until the end of March, but Michael will be out testing it a few times maybe at Kirkistown or even at Mallory Park before we go racing.
“We’re buying the bike through the business [Thompson Plastering] and my brother Paul will be involved in this too. He got a little bit bored and I’m missing the bikes quite a bit myself, so we’ve decided to go ahead with this and get a bike for Michael,” added Thompson.
“I was talking to Michael before Christmas and it went from there. He didn’t have a Supersport bike last year but in recent years he’s rode a Gearlink Kawasaki at the North West and a Triumph for Smith’s Racing. If you give Michael the right bike, he’ll be up there, that’s for sure.”