2022 NW200: Coward “more than satisfied with the preparations”
Phil Wain |
TT and Roads
Photo: Stephen Davison
Jamie Coward and the Steadplan powered KTS Racing team are all set for their assault on the 2022 international road races with the North West 200 launch procedures tomorrow.
Formed by Kevin Watret, Tony Morris and Simon Bleasdale in 2015, the combination of the highly professional team and Coward enjoyed a successful 2019 season together in the lightweight division, with second-place finisher Michael Dunlop at the Isle of Man TT the highlight, and have now joined forces to challenge all classes.
Defending TT Privateer champion Coward will campaign a Yamaha YZF-R1, prepared by Raceways Motorcycles, in the Superbike and Superstock classes, Stanley Stewart’s Yamaha YZF-R6 in the Supersport class and continue with the Kawasaki Z650 in the Supertwins category.
Second behind Dunlop by just 1.2 seconds in the aforementioned Lightweight TT race, the Hebden Bridge rider also enjoyed success elsewhere in the class with second at the North West 200 and third and fourth at the Ulster Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old also had a good year in 2019 on the Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 machines for his previous team, becoming the fastest man ever in the TT Mountain Course on a Yamaha with a 130.317 mph lap during the Senior race where he finished eighth.
He also took a superb fifth in the second Supersport TT race which followed eighth in the first encounter. The results, combined with further eighth and ninth finishes in the Superbike and Superstock races, helped him win the TT Privateer Championship and capped off a superb week around the 37.73-mile mountain course.
Elsewhere, he has four top-five finishes at the Ulster Grand Prix and, one of the sport’s most underrated drivers, is now looking to build on those results as road racing finally returns.
It’s the North West 200 where Coward and the team – who continue with ex-Honda Grand Prix mechanic and Yamaha Bleasdale as crew chief – kick off their 2022 campaign with Coward keen to make an impression ahead of the TT , which will again be his number one priority this season.
“It’s great that we’re finally getting back to road racing and like most runners, I can’t wait to get back on the track,” said Coward.
“The team made a monumental effort to prepare the bikes and after good outings on all three motos in Spain and at Snetterton and Oulton Park, I am more than happy with how our preparations have gone.
“All the bikes feel really good and are all better than they were in 2019, so we’ll be looking to get some good mileage under our belts and good results on the scoreboard at the NW200 ahead of the TT.
“The TT is the number one priority and I will be aiming to improve my lap times and go faster on all three motos there.
“If I get there, the results will obviously be better too, but it won’t be easy because the competition will be tougher than ever with everyone eager to leave after three years away.
“There’s a good atmosphere in the team and I know how much time and effort Kevin, Simon and all the guys have put in so I’m determined to reward them with good results in the TT and NW200.”