Smiths Triumph Racing Team enjoyed a strong debut showing at the Vauxhall International North West 200 road races with a superb podium from Gary Johnson in the second Supersport race, the undoubted highlight for the 2012 British Supersport champions.
The Brigg, Lincolnshire rider and team-mate Michael Rutter from Bridgnorth had spells at the front during both Thursday’s and Saturday’s six lap races on the 8.9 mile Causeway Coast track and whilst Johnson’s dry rear and intermediate front tyres weren’t the ideal option for today’s wet race, he put together six consistent laps to claim a debut podium at the event for both the team and the Triumph Daytona 675R. A finish of seventh on Thursday evening could have been better still had he not been forced wide at York Corner on the final lap.
Meanwhile, 13 times North West 200 winner Rutter led for much of Thursday’s race, which was held in sunny conditions, until the bike suddenly slowed on the penultimate lap heading towards the Mill Road roundabout. However, the Shropshire rider was able to get going again and bring the bike home for a solid sixth place. He then scored an identical result today to ensure the team took four finishes from their four starts.Gary Johnson:
I couldn’t be happier with how the week has gone or with how well the team has worked. Only one of the mechanics had ever been to a road race before but we’ve worked hard all week, ironing out a few little issues mainly with the electronics, and we’ve learnt so much. Josh Brookes put a hard move on me going into York Corner on Thursday which made it hard to come back from but that’s racing, whilst I made the wrong tyre choice today. We’ve taken two good finishes though and both Michael and I are working really well together and I’m really excited about the TT.Michael Rutter:
It’s been a good, positive week as we’ve led races and shown good form throughout. It felt really good leading the race on Thursday evening but I’d been suffering a bit of a misfire and the bike cut out on me a couple of times which was a real shame as a podium was definitely on the cards. I made a mistake with the tyre choice for today’s race but I got another top six finish and I’m really pleased with how well the bike’s working so everything’s looking really promising for the TT.Rebecca Smith, Smiths Racing Team Manager:
It’s been a short, sharp learning curve for the team and everybody’s worked really hard this week. We primarily came for a shakedown prior to the TT and we’ve found some things that will pay dividends over the next few weeks. The problems we encountered were something that we’d never have known if we hadn’t have been racing but they’ve been rectified now and both of the riders are really happy. It was fantastic for Gary to finish on the podium and Michael posted two solid results whilst he’s been a great ally this week as we’ve been able to fully utilise his organisation skills and experience from all his years here at the NW200. We’re all really looking forward to the TT now where we aim to show what the bike’s capable of.