2017 IoM TT team line-ups announced
Tyco BMW retains Hutchinson, William Dunlop joins Halsall Racing, Ivan Lintin, Stever Mercer with RC Express Racing
14-time Isle of Man TT winner Ian Hutchinson, who became the World’s Fastest Road Racer during 2016 with a phenomenal lap of 134.089mph during August’s Ulster Grand Prix, will remain with the Northern Ireland based Tyco BMW team for the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races, and for other international road races.
Hutchinson, who took Superstock wins at all three major International Road Races with Tyco BMW including the RL360 Quantum Superstock at the TT Races, and a double in the Superbike class at the Ulster Grand Prix, will also contest next season’s British Superstock Championship. The Bingley rider finished second in the series this season with Tyco BMW.
“I’m glad to have finally sorted a deal to stay with Tyco BMW for a second season. Looking back we had a very good run in 2016 with wins at all the International Road Races. Having now worked together for a season, we know where we need to improve with the obvious goal, to go on now and challenge for the Superbike wins at all of the big three internationals. The BMW S1000RR still has so much potential in Superbike trim on the roads and with another season of British Superstock planned, the aim there will be to go one step better and win the championship next season.”
William Dunlop has also confirmed he will be racing with the Halsall Racing Team in the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races and other international road circuits. The announcement ends significant speculation on the future direction that the team would take following their recent decision to vacate the British Superbike paddock.
Team owner Martin Halsall has been a long-standing supporter of road racing. A regular attendee at the Isle of Man, the Lancashire based entrepreneur has always been open about his desire to one day compete with the team across the International circuits.
No details have been provided on the machinery that the team will be running with a further announcement expected in January. However it is understood that both Halsall and Dunlop are considering a ‘variety of options’.
“Martin runs a very strong team and you only have to look at what he has done and achieved on the short circuits to see that he ensures everything is done in the correct way. It’s sleek, professional and highly driven. To have the team dedicated to me alone, will certainly raise my game. It’s the ride that I have been seeking and it’s been worth the wait to finally get this agreement in place. We’ll be learning a great deal along the way, but I’m confident we can deliver some success in 2017 and I can’t wait to get started. This is also an opportunity for me to express my thanks to the loyal supporters and sponsors that have backed me in 2016 and have been extremely positive about the move to Halsall Racing. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support”
Martin Halsall – Halsall Racing Team Owner
“This will be a challenge for sure, but I am optimistic about our potential prospects. With our proven ability to operate a leading race team, coupled with William’s extensive roads knowledge, we can make this very successful. I know how to build a team and we will be recruiting key individuals with unparalleled experience in road racing to ensure that our package is the best. Our focus and attention will be on William and on him alone. He will have the right infrastructure around him and it will be dedicated to ensuring he has everything he needs to be successful.”
“With no ties to any one manufacturer, this offers the flexibility for us as a privateer team to select the right tools for the job and choose the most suitable bikes for each discipline. Bikes that William feels can give him the best opportunity across each of the classes. He will have whatever he needs for Superbike, Superstock and Supersport. We are being guided by his experience and choice of manufacturer. Our aim is to confirm this fully in the coming weeks and months.”
The main focus for the team will be the three main International road races, but owner Halsall also indicated that further to discussion with the rider, a number of Irish road events ‘may be considered’ as part of the 2017 schedule, but emphasised that the full programme of events would be released in the New Year.
RC Express Racing announced that double Isle of Man TT Race winner Ivan Lintin will spearhead their assault on the Isle of Man TT Races and he’ll be joined by new team-mate Steve Mercer. The team, owned by Ben and Roy Constable, will again campaign Kawasaki machinery in all classes.
Having won the Bennetts Lightweight TT Race for the past two seasons, Lintin will attempt to take an unprecedented treble of victories in the class around the Mountain Course.
This will be the Bardney-based riders’ third year with the team as the talented 32-year-old seeks to build upon his previous success.
With a successful 2016 TT campaign under his belt, Lintin not only defended his crown in the Lightweight category, he also secured an tenth place finish in the blue ribbon PokerStars Senior TT race, with a new personal best lap of 127.948mph.
His dominance in the Lightweight class throughout the season was apparent with double wins at both the North West 200 and Southern 100 road races.
The hat-trick was only prevented due to an operation on an injured finger that saw him side lined at the Ulster Grand Prix.
“The confidence that I have in the RC Express Supertwin and the overall performance of the bike and team, has shown with our dominance this season. Defending the title at the TT this year did carry some pressure, but having achieved that win which was so important for everyone, I feel confident that next season will actually be somewhat easier. I am continually improving with the bike, strengthening my performance as a rider and I can only see us building upon our success in 2017 and more specifically dominating on the Supertwin.”
“I’m continuing to improve on the Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike and with a new personal best lap around the Mountain Course in 2016, I feel even more confident of moving towards a 130mph lap and becoming a regular top ten finisher in races like the Senior. This will be my third year with the team and that consistency will be a major benefit. We’re certainly growing as a collective unit and there are some significant plans for the future so it’s certainly a great time to be part of RC Express Racing.”
Kent’s Mercer joins the Bristol-based team having deputised for the injured Lintin at the 2016 Ulster Grand Prix as he recovered from injuries sustained in an incident at Oliver’s Mount.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the RC Express Racing team for 2017. Having stood in at the last minute for Ivan at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix, it was great working with Ben and Roy and, more significantly, having someone with the experience of Danny (Horne) alongside me during the event. There was an immediate connection with the entire team and with so much energy surrounding the operation, it made me feel very relaxed riding the bike, which showed with my results and lap times, including a personal best lap around Dundrod.”
The Kent based racer immediately demonstrated his adaptability on Kawasaki machinery securing eighth and ninth in the two Superbike races as well as setting his best ever lap around the high speed Dundrod Circuit at a superb 131.423mph.
“We struck up a conversation at the recent Macau Grand Prix and soon agreed a deal and it’s a great opportunity for 2017 to build myself as a rider with an aspirational, successful and growing team. Ben and Roy have some big plans for the future and now have a new Sporting Chairman, Ian Ayre, involved with the team, which is exciting. I was fortunate enough to meet Ian and spend some time with him at the Ulster GP and if I can be part of this future growth and some of the plans that have been proposed, it makes this one of the most appealing periods of my racing career.”
RC Express commence their pre-season preparations with Spanish testing at the start of 2017. With a continued relationship on Kawasaki machinery for 2017, the team will open their campaign at Oliver’s Mount for the Spring Cup in April and the North West 200 in May followed by the Isle of Man TT in June.