GUY MARTIN TO RACE AT THE 2018 AROUND-A-POUND TANDRAGEE 100
Lincolnshire rider Guy Martin will make an appearance at this year’s Tandragee 100.
The popular road racer turned TV star will compete in the Classic and Forgotten Era Classes on board his own 750cc BSA machine.
The North Armagh Club has this to say:
“The North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club Ltd is delighted to confirm that Guy Martin will be starting at the 58th Around A Pound Tandragee 100 on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th May 2018.
Guy will compete in both the Classic Race and the Forgotten Era Class on board his 750cc BSA machine.
Guy appeared last year at Tandragee and also in 2005, where he finished 3rd and 5th in the Superbike races and 4th in the 600cc event on his last appearance in the Uel Duncan Racing colours.
The Tandragee 100 has been voted 4th Best Road Racing Course in the World (only the TT, Macau & UGP came higher) and has also been called a 'mini TT' by top riders with its mix of flat out blasts, narrow technical bumpy sections such as Cooley Hill Road, its fast sweeping bends and the 180 mph Cabragh Straight.
The 5.3 mile course, the longest of the National Road Races, offers competitors a test of road racing unmatched by other national courses, and the opportunity to ‘set up’ their bikes for forthcoming International Events, including the NW200 and the Isle of Man TT. We certainly hope that Guy loves this fast and technical course, but most of all, that he enjoys himself this year at the Around a Pound Tandragee 100 National Motorcycle Road Races.
We also appeal for everyone to support the Around A Pound Tandragee 100 by purchasing a programme as this is one of the main revenue streams for the event and/or make a in the bucket with the programme sellers.
Keep up to date with all things Tandragee 100 related via our very active Facebook Group “Tandragee 100 Road Races” and from the website www.tandragee100.co.uk”
MICHAEL DUNLOP JOINS TYCO BMW FOR 2018 ISLE OF MAN TT RACES
Tyco BMW have today confirmed a new partnership with fifteen-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop for the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy and the other International Road Races.
The 28-year-old Northern Ireland rider will campaign the TAS Racing-prepared Tyco BMW S1000RR in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior Races at the Isle of Man TT and further International road racing events including the North West 200 and Ulster GP.
With multiple race wins and lap records under his belt since his TT debut in 2007, Michael's skill and determination is without doubt and he remains the first and only rider to lap the 37.73mile Mountain Course in less than 17 minutes.
His passion for road racing is mirrored by that of father and son pairing - Hector and Philip Neill - team owner and manager of TAS Racing. The Northern Ireland-based team have to date secured 27 International North West 200 victories and 18 race wins at the iconic Isle of Man TT.
The team's official full road race schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
Philip Neill – Team Manager:
“It has taken some time for this to come together and I’m very happy to confirm Michael Dunlop and TAS Racing/Tyco BMW will finally work together in 2018. Michael and I have discussed options to work together on various occasions and I honestly believe this is a partnership that simply had to happen at some point.
My father and I, together with all the guys at TAS Racing, are excited and looking forward to the challenge. We would not be in this position without the support of our partners Tyco and BMW Motorrad and both are extremely happy to reach agreement with Michael for the 2018 season”
“Tyco BMW and I have spoken many times but nothing ever came of it, but this year everything fell into place. I think it’s a good time for us both to work together and I think both of us can bring something to the table. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome”
CANADIAN RIDER MEL GANTLY READY FOR IRISH ROADS BOW
Mel Gantly has announced that he will contest the upcoming KDM Hire Cookstown 100, and Around-A-Pound Tandragee 100 road races.
Hailing from Victoria in British Columbia, Mel has long dreamt of following in the footsteps of his hero, Joey Dunlop.
Mel intended to ship over his Yamaha YZF-R6 but due to excess shipping costs, Aaron Mellish from AM Road Racing will instead loan Mel a CBR600F2 so he can compete in the senior support class.
Mel is also seeking sponsorship so if anyone is willing to help please contact him via the list below.
Facebook: Mel Gantly Racing
Photo: Mel Gantly Racing
MUGEN ANNOUNCE THREE PRONGED ATTACK FOR 2018 TT ZERO
2017 TT Zero race winner Bruce Anstey will be joined at Mugen by John McGuinness and Fermanagh man Lee Johnston.
Both Anstey and McGuinness will be vying for their TT Zero hat-tricks having each won a brace with Japanese marque.
McGuinnes won back to back titles with Mugen in 2014 and 2015 and will look to another in 2018 following his injury layoff. The ‘Flying Kiwi’ has won the Zero race the last two years and will be equally as motivated to capture another crown this tome around but both McGuinness and Anstey will have Lee Johnston nipping at their heels.
‘The General’ has raced for the Victory team in the past clocking impressive times but with a switch to the class leaders Mugen, his chances of success have now increased exponentially.
“Shinden nana is now official, and the 2018 line-up is, 2016, 2017 TT Zero winner, Bruce Anstey, bidding for his hat-trick. Returning from injury to try and capture his own 3rd TT Zero title, John McGuinness, joined by our new team member, the ever-popular Lee Johnston.”
Pictured is Michael Rutter who stepped into the Mugen frame following Anstey and McGuinness having to witrhdraw
FACTORY PATON SC-PROJECT REPARTO CORSE TEAM ANNOUNCES THE START OF ITS COLLABORATION WITH MULTIPLE TT WINNER MICHAEL DUNLOP.
Michael Dunlop will compete alongside Italian Stefano Bonetti on the Factory S1-R Lightweight Paton at 2018 Isle of Man TT.
Factory S1-R Paton won the Lightweight TT Race in 2017, showing a competitivness that promptly attracted the attention of some privateer Teams.
Michael Dunlop is the first rider in the whole history of the Isle of Man TT to have achieved a lap of the Course in less than 17 minutes, as well as being one of the most successful TT riders. He is extremely competitive in every class, from the Supersport to the Superstock and the Lightweight.
Speaking about the deal, SC-Project Team owners Stefano Lavazza and Marco De Rossi said:
“We are extremely happy that a champion like Michael is joining our Paton SC-Project Reparto Corse Team. Our collaboration with him started last year just with the supply of an SC-Project exhaust for his MD Racing Yamaha R6 he won the Supersport TT with. Michael was satisfied with the product and he wanted to carry on our collaboration this year as well, with the supply of SC-Project exhausts for the S1000RR BMW and the CBR600RR Honda he will ride respectively in the Superstock and Supersport races. His skills are well known to everyone and we are well aware that a rider like Michael has the victory as his solely focus. It is an honour for us and for Paton to have one of the fastest TT rider ever riding for our Team. We are ready for the challenge of confirming Paton as the bike to beat on the Isle of Man”.
Paton S1-R Lightweight Project Managers Roberto Pattoni and Andrea Realini added:
“To have Michael Dunlop onboard the purely Italian Paton is an honour. Some top riders got in touch with us and this shows how good we have worked in these past few years and that we can make the difference, thanks also to the acquisition by SC-Project. The Bonetti and Dunlop duo will be a key element to improve our S1-R and to confirm Paton as the fastest Lightweight at the Isle of Man TT. We are sure that even Pep (founder of the Paton factory and Roberto’s father, ndr) would have appreciated such a hot-blooded and passionate rider like Michael Dunlop. We can’t wait to start!”.
JOHN MCGUINNESS TO RIDE FOR RIVAL MICHAEL DUNLOP'S MD RACING TEAM IN 2018 SUPERSPORT TT RACES
In an unprecedented move, two of the Isle of Man TT’s greatest ever riders will join forces at this year’s Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy with John McGuinness set to ride for Michael Dunlop’s MD Racing team in the two Monster Energy Supersport races.
McGuinness, who will be making his return to the TT this year after missing the 2017 meeting due to injuries sustained at the North West 200, will ride a similar CBR600RR Honda to team owner and rival Dunlop in the four-lap races, which will be held on Monday 4th and Wednesday 6th June.
Dunlop and McGuinness both have an excellent track record in the class with the Northern Irishman winning last year’s four lap race when Yamaha-mounted while 23-time winner McGuinness was victorious in both 2005 and 2006 for Yamaha and Honda respectively. Riding for the latter exclusively since 2006, the Morecambe Missile added further Supersport podiums to his haul in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013.
Since 2010 McGuinness has lined up in the colours of Padgetts Racing and, more recently the Jackson Racing team, finishing in the top five on no less than eight occasions with his most recent outing in 2016 seeing him finish fifth. His fastest lap in the Supersport category, 127.210mph, came in 2013 when he made his last visit to the podium in the class which makes him the fifth fastest rider ever to have lapped the Mountain Course on a 600cc machine.
Dunlop still holds the lap record for the class having lapped at 128.667mph on his way to a double victory in 2013 when riding the CBR600RR. MD Racing will be making their return to Honda for the two Monster Energy Supersport Races for the first time since 2015.
Speaking about the tie-up, John McGuinness commented:
“I’m excited to be riding Michael’s bike at this year’s TT. It’s started off as a bit of a joke conversation between us both and has developed into him going off and building me a bike. I’m a big fan of Michael’s both as a rider but also for what he has done in terms of running his own teams and winning races out the back of his van against the factory teams over the years. The Dunlop name means so much to TT fans and as a fan myself, I can’t wait to represent that name at this year’s event. We’ve won 38 TT’s between us so together we know what needs to be done and I am sure we will be right at the sharp end.”
Michael Dunlop added:
“I hadn’t ever really planned on building another bike, but when John started talking to me about it, I thought it was a great idea and I couldn’t really say no. It’s good for me, it’s good for my team and no matter who you are, the man has won 23 TT races so there is always going to be something that can be learnt by having him in working alongside you. People don’t see him as a 600cc rider, but he’s won races and had lots of podium finishes on a 600cc bike and I will give him a bike capable of winning on.”
GARY JOHNSON JOINS RAF REGULAR AND RESERVE KAWASAKI FOR TT 2018 CAMPAIGN
Leading British Superbike Championship team RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki will make their return to the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy this year having signed double TT race winner Gary Johnson who will again be among the favourites for honours.
Based at RAF Markham, the team return to the TT for the first time since 2015 and will field Johnson on Kawasaki ZX-10RR machinery in the RST Superbike, RL 360 Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT Races and Triumph machinery for the Monster Energy Supersport Races.
Lincolnshire’s Johnson rode for Lee Hardy’s Team, who will again run Jake Dixon in the British Superbike Championship, at last year’s Macau Grand Prix and, despite limited track time on the ZX-10RR, immediately impressed with a strong sixth place.
Since making his debut in 2007, Johnson has established himself as one of the leading exponents around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course taking wins in the 2011 and 2014 Supersport Races with only bad luck denying him more. In total, he’s taken six podiums and his fastest lap of 130.945mph, set on a Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2016, makes him the 12th fastest rider of all time currently.
The now 37-year old has a number of years experience riding Kawasakis and finished second behind Michael Dunlop in the 2013 Superstock Race having led for the first half of the race before being slowed by an oil leak. He also rode for JG Speedfit Kawasaki in 2016 before running his own team on Suzukis last year when late arrival of the GSXR resulted in him being down the leaderboard.
Hardy’s team last lined up on Glencrutchery Road three years ago, under the Briggs Equipment BMW banner with Peter Hickman campaigning a S1000RR in his second year at the TT. The combination enjoyed an excellent week both in terms of results and reliability with fifth in the Superstock, seventh in the Senior and eighth in the Superbike Races.
Speaking about the tie up Team Principal Lee Hardy said:
“Gary rode for my team at the Macau Grand Prix and I was very impressed with his work ethic and he did a great job for us despite having limited track time. Gary showed me that he has the desire to win and he is hungry to get back to the top step at the TT. I saw enough to make a decision to come back to the TT with a rider who is a proven race winner.”
“I have missed competing at the TT the past few years and we’re delighted to be returning. The Royal Air Force are delighted to be the title sponsor for the team at this year’s TT and it’s great to continue promoting our partner sponsors Briggs Equipment and Mother Hubbard’s of Swaffham. Myself and the team’s sponsors are excited about the challenges ahead, we believe that we have the right environment to get Gary right back to the very top end of the results sheets and can’t wait to get started.”
Gary Johnson added:
“I was really impressed by the bike in Macau and I know with a bit more time on it we could have been pushing for the win there. The team have been doing a great job in British Superbike with Jake (Dixon) and hopefully we can transfer that success to the TT. I’m really looking forward to this year’s event now and hopefully I can add a few more wins to my tally.”
KMR TT 2018 PLANS CONFIRMED AS MCGUINNESS LEADS A FOUR MAN ATTACK
John McGuinness and Peter Hickman will lead a four-rider attack for KMR/IEG Kawasaki on the Bennetts Lightweight Race at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.
The duo will ride identically prepared ER650cc Kawasaki’s for three-time TT winner Ryan Farquhar’s team where they will be supported by multiple Irish Champion Derek McGee and former Moto 3 Grand Prix front runner Danny Webb.
23-time TT winner McGuinness, who won the Lightweight 250cc race with lap and race records in 1999, will be making his debut in the class, for Supertwin-specification machines, after previous contractual obligations prevented him from contesting the four-lap race. Riding this year for Norton Motorcycles in the Superbike and Senior Races, he has been given all-clear to compete in the Lightweight TT where he will be among the race favourites.
Teammate Hickman, who rode for Farquhar’s team in last year’s race, will also start as one of the leading contenders for the race win. Despite limited track time during a weather-affected qualifying week, the Burton- on-Trent rider finished third behind Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp. His quickest lap - 119.151mph - put him the sixth fastest rider of all-time at the TT on a Supertwin machine.
Derek McGee makes his return to the TT after a one-year absence and is sure to a top ten contender as will Webb who finished in tenth place in the 2015 race. The Tunbridge Wells rider has ridden for KMR Kawasaki every year since making his TT debut in 2014.
Speaking about the deal, Ryan Farquhar said:
“Over the years I’ve joked with John many times about riding one of my bikes but with his Honda contract it was never going to materialise. He has moved on from Honda and he sees the twin as giving him a realistic chance of getting back on the top step of the podium. For me, as a privateer running a small team, I am over the moon to have him and Peter Hickman on KMR/IEG Kawasakis.”
John McGuinness added:
“I’ve never had the chance to ride the Lightweight class on a Supertwin bike before, but when the opportunity came around, I knew that my first choice would be to ride one of Ryan Farquhar’s bikes. I raced against Ryan for many years and I know how driven he is to win and his machine preparation is second to none. So when he gave me the chance to join his team for the TT I didn’t need to think twice before saying yes and I am really looking forward to making my debut.”
Peter Hickman commented:
“I really enjoyed riding for KMR Kawasaki last year. I didn’t have much experience of riding the bike and qualifying was ruined by the weather so we went into the race on the back foot a little bit, but it is a testament to Ryan and his team that we were able to bring the bike home on the podium. Ryan has been developing the bike through the winter and with a bit more time on it I’d like to think we can stand a step or two higher up on the podium this time around.”
TURNER RACING ANNOUNCES 2018 CLASSIC TT LIGHTWEIGHT LINE-UP
Turner Racing has officially announced that Dan Cooper and Michael Sweeney will team up for the Lightweight Classic TT race this coming August.
“Dan Cooper returns to make a further challenge after his great 5th place finish last year. We are also very pleased to confirm that Michael ‘Micko’ Sweeney will be lining up alongside Dan Cooper in Turner Racing colours to complement our effort.
On the John Burrows 250 in 2014 he took his first Irish Championship win. This accomplishment included 8 wins at Cookstown, Tandragee, Bush, Kells, Skerries, Walderstown, Faugheen and Killalane. To this day he still holds the lap record at Armoy. This was preceded in 2013 by a Second place as runner up to William Dunlop, (also on a John Burrows 250).
Prior to that, (in 2007), he also had many wins and finished 2nd in the Irish Support Championship riding for ‘Street Sweep’.
Michael’s Classic TT experience in the last two years was whilst riding the Laylaw Racing F2 TZ250 4DP finishing overall 8th and 12th in 2016 and 2017 respectively and taking a Formula 2 win.
We’re very excited about our Anglo / Irish line up for 2018 and hope all spectators enjoy what they see in August. Good luck to both Riders.”
Photo by Turner Racing and Desmond Loughery.
MICHAEL DUNLOP SEEKING SUPERBIKE OPTION FOR 2018 SEASON
Isle Of Man TT Lap record holder, Michael Dunlop has made clear that he is seeking a superbike ride for the 2018 road racing season, as he has not renewed his contract with Hawk Racing.
The Ballymoney man will run a Superstock and Supersport machine under the ‘MD Racing’ banner, but he intimated that until a superbike option has been sourced, no further announcements will he made.
“I'd like to clarify my current position regarding the upcoming road-racing season. I will be contesting the Superstock and Supersport classes at the Isle of Man TT and other events on my own MD Racing machines. I have not renewed my contract with Hawk Racing however, I am currently considering my options for the Superbike class and will confirm my plans when something is sorted. I'd like to thank Stuart and Steve for their support over recent years where we have shared a lot of success together.”
Team ILR can announce that team owner-manager Ian Lougher will compete at the 2018 Isle of Man TT races.
The 10-times TT winner will renew links with TEAM MIRAI when he spearheads their entry in the SES TT Zero race on Wednesday, June 6th.
Lougher last rode for the Japanese outfit in 2013. In extremely difficult circumstances, he took over the reigns of the Komatti-Mirai bike from his good friend Yoshinari Matsushita who tragically lost his life in a practice crash at Ballacrye. The vastly experienced Welshman brought the bike home for a top six finish, in what was an emotionally charged, professional performance.
TEAM MIRAI is an ambitious, friendly, private business that has a mission to 'contribute to society by developing vehicles that do not emit the next generation of carbon dioxide.'
The company C/O Mr. Yoshihiro Kishimoto decided to try the TT again in 2018 with his new EV bike which brings to the table a very small machine, but with aggressive power using a NSF250 chassis.
Mr. Kishimoto himself competed in Pikes Peak in the USA, and he also competed at the Cemetery circuit in New Zealand among engine machines in 2017 finishing with two very respectable 5th and 6th places.
It will again be a busy fortnight for Lougher as he will oversee the challenge of the team's young gun Joey Thompson who will be competing in his second TT races.
Team ILR owner-manager Ian Lougher:
"I'm quite intrigued and looking forward to riding Kishimoto san’s electric bike at the TT again, although this bike is a totally new machine from 2013. I was lucky to be able to test the machine while I was in Japan recently, it was not an ideal test as it was only one degree above freezing but it was still good to get a general feel of it.
It’s very small as it’s based around a Moto 3 Honda chassis, which is great for me as I have plenty of experience riding one of those, so I’ll get tucked in and see how we get on."
TEAM MIRAI owner-manager Mr. Yoshihiro Kishimoto:
"I am extremely pleased that my team is planning to come back to TT Zero for the first time in five years.
At our last participation in TT Zero in 2013 during our final preparation for the machine "TT Zero 13", we heard the news of Yoshinari Matsushita's accident while we were in London.
Our team had to face the heaviest difficult decision after our rider died during practice for the Isle of Man TT but Ian Lougher who was a close friend of Yoshinari decided to ride for him and he finished the race well. This year, I am very proud that Ian and our team can come together again for the TT Zero race.
Of course, Yoshinari will also participate together in our minds. We are just a small independent team from Japan, please support us and our rider Ian Lougher.”
Photo via Marksttphotos.com
HARDISTY JOINS THE PEOPLE’S BIKE TEAM FOR 2018 ISLE OF MAN TT RACES CAMPAIGN
Welshman Rhys Hardisty has joined The People's Bike team for the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy. The Isle of Man based rider will be teammate to TT newcomer David Jackson.
Rhys has a number of years’ experience now on the roads and has a good record of finishes at the Manx GP. His highlights include an 11th place in the Senior Manx Grand Prix last year where he lapped at 118.343mph, following a 12th place in the Junior race earlier in the week. He also finished third in the Formula 2 Classic TT Race in 2015 lapping at a more than impressive 111mph on a 250cc Yamaha.
He also plans to step up to the big bike class at the TT this year on a BMW1000 but has competed at other circuits already in the 1000 classes including the Southern 100 where he lapped at almost 105mph in 2017. He will run on a Reps Motorcycles R6 Yamaha in the two Monster Energy Supersport Races.
"Racing at the TT has been a dream of mine since watching Joey Dunlop there as a young child. I'm really excited to finally be able to ride at the TT and am so grateful to The People's Bike team for giving me this opportunity. I'm really looking forward to working with them as I make the step up to the TT. "
Team Manager Janice Thompson said,
"We are very excited to welcome Rhys into the team. We have been following his career over the last couple of years and TT 2018 seemed like perfect time to step him up from the Manx GP. Rhys is a very talented rider and we believe he has the ability required for future success on the mountain course."
The People's Bike team, now in their tenth year, provide all sponsors with an official sponsors t-shirt, together with a goodie bag containing a team lanyard and stickers. All sponsors have the opportunity to add a photo of their choice to the livery on the bike's fairings which will then feature on the bikes during race week.
During qualifying and race week the team will be tweeting live from the paddock and grid. Photographs will be posted daily on the team's facebook page and website so fans can follow their progress. Team sponsors are also welcome in the team’s awning in the TT paddock.
Check out the team's website thepeoplesbike.com and keep up to date with their news at this year's TT and also see how you can become part of this unique team.
WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPION TO RIDE PARADE LAP AT 2018 NORTH WEST 200
Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea will make a special appearance at the Vauxhall International North West 200, where he will partake in a parade lap around the world famous triangular circuit. The Ballyclare rider will be on board a Kawasaki ZX10RR.
A plethora of the very best riders were in attendance at the official launch of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 in Coleraine.
Some of those in attendance included:
William Dunlop, Michael Rutter, Alastair Seeley, Glenn Irwin, James Hillier, Lee Johnston, Dean Harrison, Ian Hutchinson, Adam McLean and Michael Rutter.
“I’m very excited to go back and visit the North West 200 and be able to do a parade lap.“
“I was fortunate enough to ride with my Dad around there more than 10 years ago. “It’s an event that I follow closely and this season my schedule lets me visit.”
Suter returns to Isle of Man TT Races with Ian Lougher set to ride two stroke MMX500
Suter Industries has confirmed that they will be returning to compete at the Isle of Man TT races fuelled by Monster Energy this year.
Ten-time TT Race winner Ian Lougher, who rode for the team in 2016, will again tackle the TT Mountain Course on the Suter MMX500 V4 2-Stroke in both the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races.
Lougher’s 2016 TT experience with Suter saw him lap at over 121mph on the prototype machine on his way to completing the PokerStars Senior TT Race. The Welshman is one of the most experienced road racers in the world and in addition to his ten TT Race wins he also has 8 wins at the North West 200 and 18 wins at the Ulster Grand Prix in his career.
Lougher took his first TT victory in the 1990 Junior TT in one of the closest races in the event's history, winning by only 1.8 seconds from Steve Hislop, setting new race and lap records that weren’t beaten for nine years.
His near 30-year TT career, between 1984 and 2013, included 130 starts and the most replicas awarded to a TT rider before retiring after the 2013 Senior TT, although the 54-year-old continued to race on the TT Mountain Course in the Classic TT, before returning to the main TT event with Suter in 2016.
Ian Lougher said:
“It goes without saying, I am excited to be racing the Suter MMX500 again at the Isle of Man TT Races. I feel that after all the hard work put in by the entire Suter team and myself, it’s very much unfinished business and I can‘t wait to go testing. It‘s two years since our last episode together, and the engineers say that they have managed to squeeze even more power out of the engine and iron out all the niggling problems we encountered in 2016. I’m ready to go down Bray Hill and give the spectators that two stroke experience again."
Eskil Suter, fouder of Suter, said:
“Ian has an unquestionable pedigree at this circuit. The idea of racing here is simple – to show how much the MMX500 has matured in both reliability and efficiency. Development since our initial run at the mountain course two years ago has been ongoing. We are confident in what Ian will be able to achieve with the bike in this spec.”
Eskil Suter also outlined plans to sell Lougher’s race bike immediately following this year’s event.
“In another first, we are selling this TT 2018 race bike as is! The sales package will include the MMX500 Ian Lougher raced at the IoM TT 2018, complete with all the road rash and bugs. We will also be providing a complete set of Suter 2018 Team wear, VIP access with the team as well as your very own spot on one of our Suter Race days with Eskil as your personal coach with everything handed over to you on the Isle of Man.”
Team ILR Suter 500
LEE JOHNSTON POSITIVE AFTER DEBUT TEST WITH HONDA RACING
The 2018 campaign started in earnest this week for the Honda Racing roads team as they embarked on their first pre-season test at Monteblanco in Spain, with its new rider line-up of Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston.
Although not riding at the test, as he still continues his recovery, ‘Hutchy’ was present for all three days and worked with the team as Johnston got to grips with the Fireblade SP2 ahead of the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy. Plagued with intermittent weather over the three days, track time was limited and it wasn’t until the final day (Wednesday 7 March) that the team and Johnston were able to get their teeth stuck into the testing programme.
With Hutchy not able to ride his machine, it was over to ‘The General’ who tested both his and Hutchy’s Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2s - back-to-back - and Johnston also tested the Honda Superstock machine. Although not riding, Hutchy was able to work with the team with feedback from Johnston on the set-up of his right-hand gear shifter.
Johnston has history already with the SP2, as in 2017 he was a reserve 24 Heures Motos rider for the Honda Endurance Racing team, but with three riders to cater for the machine set up is very different to his Fireblade for the road racing season.
Working on the set-up of the bike and making it feel like his own, the team and Johnston finished the test positive with over 100 laps of the 2.76-mile circuit completed. With lap times a second quicker than previous tests at the circuit, the team are ready to continue its testing programme later this month back on UK soil at Castle Combe.
Lee Johnston 13
“The test at Monteblanco has been really positive; it was our first official test as a team and although a little unlucky with the weather we're coming away in a really good place. The first two days we didn't really get through much, but the last day was really productive and we managed to cram everything in.”
“It has been a little busy riding my Fireblade and Hutchy's, as well as the Superstock bike, but I'm feeling really good. Of course with any new bike and team it takes a while to get settled and get your own feeling, but I think we're pretty much there and once we get to our next test at Castle Combe, I think we'll be ready to hit the ground running and really get stuck in from the direction of this week.”
“The team are all working together really well and it was great to have Ian there this week and I can't wait to see him aboard the machine when he's ready, and we can work together more with the set-up and feeling. We have a few weeks now before our next test and I already can't wait to get there and get going again.”
CARL COX 'GOES BACK TO THE ISLAND' AS TIM REEVES LOOKS TO ADD TO HIS TT TALLY
Carl Cox Motorsport continue their support of seven time World Sidecar Champion Tim Reeves and his passenger Mark Wilkes in his quest for glory at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.
World renowned DJ Cox, who is a big fan of the TT, attended the event last year, supporting both Reeves and the unique solo talent of Michael Dunlop. For this season he is stepping up his support of the Reeves/Wilkes duo with the purchase of a new LCR sidecar outfit.
Tim took his last Isle of Man TT win back in 2013, so the determined Kentish racer is fired up to add to his collection of silver statues. Last season Tim and brother Tristan dominated the British F1 Sidecar Championship, with a 100% win record but things didn’t go their way around the Mountain Course. Sidecar Race 1 saw an intermittent fuel pump fault leaving them in fifth and in Race 2 an electrical sensor failed, resulting in a retirement, just as they were gaining on the leader.
Wilkes did, however, receive the Dave Wells Trophy, awarded to the best newcomer passenger, for his fifth place in Race 1 while a lap of 114.793mph was the fastest ever recorded by a passenger making his debut on the Mountain Course.
Carl invited Tim to race at the prestigious Philip Island Classic event just before Christmas and cemented a deal for the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races. Entered as ‘Carl Cox Motorsport Powered by H&S Contractors’, the pairing from Kent are due to receive their outfit on Thursday this week and will immediately be going testing in France.
Tim Reeves explained:
“We’ve got to hand it to Carl, every year he steps up with a serious level of support and he’s such a great guy to have involved with the sport, for everyone within the Sidecar community. With so much short circuit success I feel it’s our time to notch up some TT victories; we’ve done the ‘knowledge’ there, so there’s no reason why we can’t with such a strong package and support. It would be great if we can do it for Mark as well. He really deserves some success on three wheels. We’re also thankful to have the continued support of Neil Pallet of H&S Contractors who is staying on board as well…. So let’s get this season started!”
Carl Cox commented:
“I love sidecars and have great respect for the Isle of Man so it’s awesome to combine the two, with support for Tim and Mark for this season at the TT. Tim decimated the field in the British Championship last year but I know he wants to stand on the top step at the Isle of Man TT again too. With any luck I can get out there again to cheer these guys on as they give it their best shot.”
Carl Cox Motorsport Tim Reeves Racing
Photo credit: iomtt.com
WH RACING RETAIN THE SERVICES OF DOMINIC HERBERTSON FOR 2018 ROADS CAMPAIGN
Hexham rider Dominic Herbertson has teamed up once again with WH Racing for the upcoming road racing season.
The popular rider will have at his disposal an array of top class machinery including a BMW S1000RR, Kawasaki Ninja 650, and a Kawasaki ZX6R.
“We are excited to announce we have retained Dominic Herbertson for the 2018 season. We look forward to the season ahead with Dominic, as always, thanks to our sponsors.”
Herbertson, a regular competitor at national and international level has endeared himself to road racing fans with his jovial attitude and outright speed. He has built up a growing fan base on both sides of the Irish Sea and many will be willing both he and WH Racing every success going forward.
Not content with competing on current machinery, Herbertson has also re-signed with Davies Motorsport for some classic racing action that will see him ply his trade at the Pre-TT Classic races and the Classic TT.
You can follow Dom on Twitter: @DomHerbertson
We wish Dom all the best for the upcoming season.
Photo credit: Desmond Loughery / WH Racing and Dominic Herbertson.