Yamaha holds strong hand for North West 200

Conor Cummins
Conor Cummins

Yamaha holds a strong hand for next year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 after Conor Cummins was officially confirmed in Shaun Muir’s British championship Milwaukee-backed team.

The 26-year-old from Ramsey completes Muir’s roads line-up alongside top Ulsterman William Dunlop and fans here will be the first to see the new-look red and white liveried Yamaha machines on the roads at the event in May.

Cummins, who leaves the Moneymore-based Tyco Suzuki team after a one-season stint, had been courted by Robin Croft’s SMT Honda team, but the Isle of Man star eventually opted to sign on the dotted line for Yamaha in a deal that also includes a ride in the Endurance World Championship in a Yamaha Europe squad.

Both Cummins and Dunlop will contest the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock classes on R1 and R6 machinery at the North West, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.

The Southern 100 at Billown plus the Macau Grand Prix next November are also included in the Milwaukee Yamaha team’s roads schedule, while Dunlop will also compete at selected National races on Muir’s Superbike and Supersport machines.

Cummins said: “I am really chuffed with the Yamaha deal, absolutely over the moon.

“I’ve had a massive battle to get back up to where I am after my 2010 crash and now I have to get up to speed and challenge for wins.

“I’ve come this far and I won’t be giving up now,” he added.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I can’t thank Shaun Muir and his team enough for the chance to join a championship-winning outfit.

“I feel that with the experience and equipment Milwaukee Yamaha have, I will be in a position to challenge for big bike wins not only at my home event, the TT, but in the other internationals as well.”

On his option to compete in the Endurance World Championship, Cummins - who was ruled out of the TT in June after sustaining a hand injury when he was rammed by Gary Johnson at the NW200 - added: “I did Le Mans in 2009 and I want to get back into endurance racing.

“It will complement the roads effort as well, giving me a lot more track time.”

NW200 Event Director, Mervyn Whyte, says the factory Yamaha team’s commitment to the North West 200 is a coup for the event.

“This is excellent news for the Vauxhall North West 200,” said Whyte.

“These are two brilliant road racers with years of experience and for their first outing to be on the Triangle course is the icing on the cake.”