Road racing star Ian Hutchinson will compete at this year's North West 200 after recovering from multiple leg injuries.
The Yorkshireman made history last year by becoming the first rider ever to win five TT races in a single week, before an accident at Silverstone curtailed his season.
Hutchinson was racing in the British Supersport Championship when he fell at Copse in wet conditions, before being hit by a following bike. The horrendous accident caused a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in his left leg.
And after intensive rehabilitation over the winter, 'Hutchy' is positive ahead of his return to racing.
“Training and physio sessions are currently going extremely well and I'm feeling very good and have regained weight. I'm working out in the gym three times a week using the cross trainer and cycling machines and am also receiving regular physiotherapy on my legs. The metal frames are still protecting my legs but I'm certainly not in any pain and the doctors are really delighted with my recovery process”, he explained.
There is still work to do for Hutchinson though before he is racing at 100%, and he is taking a cautious approach to his comeback in order to be ready for the trip to Coleraine.
“We're airing on the side of caution by not aiming for Brands Hatch on 22/25 April, but I'll be coming along to Brands to sample the atmosphere and see everyone. In addition Shaun Muir Racing and the Swan Yamaha team plan to unveil my new superbikes and by that stage I should be able to walk about 'cage-free.' I must admit I'm really looking forward to it.”
The 31 year old is also delighted to be making his comeback on the public roads of Northern Ireland, and feels it is the perfect venue to make his return.
“Whilst Race Day is hard work, the track is not a busy one and the two practice sessions and especially Thursday daytime will give me the chance to ease back into competitive racing. We plan to take part at Croft the week before the North West, but will also undergo regular testing pre Croft in preparation for the NW Superbike, 600cc and Superstock races.”
North West 200 Technical Director Mervyn White is excited to see Hutchinson return to Coleraine.
“Ian has two North West wins under his belt taking Supersport trophies in 2006 and 2010 and the Coleraine Club is delighted his name is on the grid for 2011. Ian has always been a great competitor and I know all the fans will be looking forward to seeing him on the 8.9 mile course. We wish him well over the coming weeks.”
Practice for the Relentless International North West 200 starts on Tuesday 17th May, with Race Day on Saturday 21st May.