David Johnson set for North West 200 debut

David Johnson will make his debut at the North West 200 in May
David Johnson will make his debut at the North West 200 in May

Australian rider David Johnson will make his debut at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May riding a BMW S1000RR for Paul Shoesmith’s Ice Valley team.

Johnson, who will also ride BMW machines at the Isle of Man TT plus a Triumph 675 for Smiths Racing - when Guy Martin will be his team-mate in the Supersport races - will contest the Superbike and Superstock races at the Triangle venue.

“I have always wanted to do the North West but the deal has always gone wrong at the last minute,” said the Adelaide rider, who achieved his best international roads result at the TT last year, finishing fourth in the Superstock race.

“It will be really important to get plenty of practice time at the North West and for conditions to be dry because I don’t like riding in the wet on the road.

“If I get enough time on the bike and I feel comfortable then I will definitely give it a crack. I don’t have any real expectations but maybe a top ten is possible,” added the 30-year-old, who is competing in the British Superbike Championship this season in the MotoDex team on a BMW.

Team owner Shoesmith will also compete at the North West, riding BMW machines in the Superbike and Superstock races, a Yamaha R6 in the Supersport class and a Kawasaki ER6 for the Supertwin races and is equally enthusiastic about his North West recruit’s ability.

“David has ridden for me before at the Ulster Grand Prix and we have been good mates for a long time,” the Stockport man said.

“When I heard he didn’t have a North West ride I stuck him on one of the four new BMWs I have this year.”

Shoesmith has been instrumental in introducing an impressive list of riders to the between the hedges scene, including Peter Hickman, who became the North West’s fastest ever newcomer on one of the immaculate Ice Valley BMWs last year.

“I think my own best finish at the North West was a 10th in a Superbike race a couple of years ago but I don’t really race for the results,” Shoesmith said.

“I know that I am not going to win because there are so many faster and younger riders out there but I do it for the fun of it and I like to bring a team.

“A lot of talented guys like Peter, Simon Andrews, Gary Johnson, Dean Harrison and Branko Srdanov have ridden my bikes and now we have David.” Meanwhile the opening round of the Adelaide Masters Series takes place this weekend at Mondello Park, where the line-up includes Derek Sheils, Brian McCormack, Gerard Kinghan and Damien Byrne.

Qualifying and the first race for class will be held on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s main race programme, which will be streamed live on Mondello.TV