News 12 May 2023

FHO withdrawal sees Brookes out of North West 200

'No confidence in the application of the Superstock technical regulations'.

Image: Supplied.

The 2023 North West 200 campaign of Josh Brookes has been brought to a premature end as the FHO Racing BMW team has made the decision to withdraw from the event ‘due to no confidence in the application of the Superstock technical regulations’.

Brookes had qualified seventh fastest in the Superbike class and P6 in Superstock on Thursday, with ruling surrounding the wheels the cause of the controversy before the races commenced.

“The FHO Racing BMW Motorrad team are withdrawing from the 2023 fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 due to no confidence in the application of the Superstock technical regulations,” a statement from FHO Racing read.

“The Superstock class technical regulations mandate the machines must fully comply with conditions regarding the wheels, where Superstock machines must remain with the originally homologated wheels from the manufacturer, which from BMW are carbon. It then goes on to prohibit carbon material, however aftermarket wheels are also not allowed and no mandated alternative specification is prescribed.

“The FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR machines passed scrutineering on Tuesday (9 May) and were allowed to take part in all qualifying sessions before being informed they were not allowed to race moments before the Briggs Equipment Superstock race this evening.

“Having taking this issue out with the fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 organisers, there is no confidence that the FHO Racing riders could take part in a race with the obvious dangers, and risks that road racing prevents and then the performance protested or disqualified on a technicality that is not adequately explained.

“The FHO Racing team have checked the 2023 technical regulations against those of 2022 and the regulations remain the same, where the team raced the carbon homologated wheels in both Superstock races, as well as the event in 2019.

“The effort commitment and logistics required to compete in the North West 200 are significant and this lack of confidence in the organisation renders the team’s participation in this year’s event impossible.

“The FHO Racing team would like to sincerely apologise to all its sponsors and fans, and the team are now looking forward to getting back out on the roads in a few weeks time at the Isle of Man TT Races.”

Brookes confirmed earlier this year that he would enter the 2023 Isle of Man TT with FHO Racing, and is currently second in the British Superbike Championship following the opening two rounds of the season.