The Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki team will return to the fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils next month with Ulsterman Paul Jordan leading the charge.
The Bristol-based RC Express Racing team – run by Roy and Ben Constable – will be represented at the 90th anniversary meeting by Magherafelt man Jordan, who will ride a Superstock-spec Kawasaki ZX-10RR alongside Alistair Russell’s Yamaha R6.
Jordan earned his chance in the team after impressing last year at the Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix, when he was drafted into the line-up along with Dominic Herbertson after Ivan Lintin was ruled through injury.
Lincolnshire rider Lintin was caught up in James Cowton’s fatal crash at the Southern 100 last July and hasn’t raced since, although he has made a good recovery.
Jordan will compete in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport races at the north coast road race, which takes place from May 14-18.
The 27-year-old said he was hoping for a change of luck at the event with the benefit of plenty of track time under his belt this year.
“I’ve never really had a lot of North West luck,” said Jordan.
“Usually I’ve been racing bikes there that I haven’t ridden before so I was starting on the back foot. But this year will be a different kettle of fish as the bikes will be a lot more familiar to me.”
His best result at the event is an eighth place in the Supersport class in 2014, when he rode for the British championship Gearlink Kawasaki squad.
And Jordan – a winner in the Supersport class at the Easter Monday Ulster Superbike meeting at Kirkistown – believes his best shot at a dream podium in Portrush will come on the YZF-R6.
“I want a really good crack at the 600cc races,” he said.
“I’ll do plenty of homework and then get stuck in. I want to try to build on every practice and qualifying session and watch what the top riders like Alastair Seeley are doing.
“I’ll try to pick up some of the wee things they do that I don’t.”
Jordan wants to build on a solid end to the 2018 road racing season by carrying his momentum into the Cookstown 100 this weekend prior to the North West.
He will skip the Tandragee 100 to compete in the British Superbike round at Oulton Park instead from May 4-6.
“I surprised myself at last year’s Ulster Grand Prix because I jumped into it all with the team without much time to learn or settle in,” said Jordan.
“But I was able to run with the leaders by the end of the event, taking a sixth in the Superstock race and fourth in the Superbike race, plus I did a 131mph lap. The Dafabet Devitt team is a family affair and nobody is pushing me to get results because they know that I really want to get them for myself,” he added.
“Before I only had one bike at the North West but with two machines this year I will have a lot more track time and that will help me get up to speed quicker.
“With six races I will have a chance to improve in each one but it does mean that it is going to be busy.”