There’s just no quit in some people. Ian Hutchinson is one of those people. Now 41 years old, with 16 Isle of Man TT victories under his belt, the professional racer and master of UK road courses has announced he’ll return to the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT road races in 2022.
Hutchinson, from West Yorkshire, England, will pilot a Russell Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 backed by Boyce Precision Engineering in the Supersport class.
Russell Racing is run by Ireland’s Alister Russell, former crew chief to racers including Guy Martin and the late William Dunlop. The arrangement between Russell and Hutchinson kicked off with testing in early 2020, but the COVID-19 lockdown soon halted all racing plans. Now, both the NW200 and TT have already been cancelled for 2021, meaning an anxiously long wait for the team before the return of these iconic road events in 2022.
Hutchinson is one of the legends of the Isle of Man. He’s the only rider to ever win five TTs in a single year (2010), and his eight Supersport victories are the most in class history. Oh, and he’s also won Ireland’s prestigious North West 200 thrice.
While his age may raise an eyebrow, Hutchinson remains confident that he’s got what it takes to win. “I want to get back to winning at the North West and TT,” he asserts, “and these Yamahas have everything that I need to do that.”
Russell is fully behind Hutchinson, agreeing that the veteran is in a position to take victory on the roads again. “His determination to win is second to none,” states Russell. “He knows what it takes to win. It is up to us to supply him with what he needs, and no corners have been cut with these bikes.”
The team will seek testing opportunities for the R6s while Hutchinson stays active in the BSB Superstock Championship on a Raceways/Edwards Vodka R1. With plenty of prep time before May of 2022, could we see the evergreen Hutchinson back on the top of the box?