Jeremy McWilliams will make a sensational return to Grand Prix racing next weekend at Silverstone as he lines up for Bennetts Brough Superior in the Moto2 class aboard the innovative, British-designed Carbon 2 machine.
Despite not having ridden at a Grand Prix event since 2007, McWilliams has never formally retired from motorcycle racing. He has won at the North West 200 in the last two years and most recently took victory in an AMA Harley-Davidson XR1200 race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix recently.
McWilliams famously led the 2000 British Grand Prix, battling with Valentino Rossi and Kenny Roberts Jr to eventually become the last Brit to stand on the podium at a British Grand Prix in what would become eight years.
Last month it was announced that Brough Superior would mark a return to the UK with a one-off entry to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The project is headed up by California-based Brits, Paul Taylor and John Keogh and the Carbon 2, which features a carbon fibre monocoque design, has won national level races in the United States.
McWilliams tested the Carbon 2 at Mallory Park on Wednesday and hopes for another outing on the bike before heading out for Free Practice next Friday morning.
“I was pleasantly surprised with the bike at Mallory; we had it working quite well” said McWilliams talking to Bike Social. “When an opportunity like this comes along and you can see potential in it, it’s difficult to say no. With Bennetts supporting the project and the work that the guys at Brough Superior have put in it deserves a shot.
“The bike is a completely new concept in terms of chassis design, there’s nothing else like it on the grid in Moto2. With the carbon chassis and the wishbone fork set up I wasn’t sure what to expect and whether I’d be able to adapt to this new concept but it worked ok. We started working with a setting they’d used at Cadwell and I couldn’t really get on with that but then we played about with some other settings and we started to make some progress. There are a few things that we need to do before Silverstone and we’re aiming to get that done next week.
“It’s difficult to say how much potential the bike has got at the moment. I have ridden Moto2 bikes in the past at one off tests and riding this bike made me want to ride it more. It actually helped with some things I struggled with on other Moto2 chassis! It’s certainly got some advantages but there are areas we need to work on. We’ve got a chassis that is not too far out and hopefully even though we’ve got such a limited time we will get the set-up a bit closer for Silverstone.
“With where I am at in my career, I’m doing this to help a small team with a limited budget and a hope of them moving on to bigger and better things. There are no expectations but there’s every hope that we can place the bike where nobody expects to see it, especially if the weather is tricky - that’s what my career has been about! I’ve ridden bikes that people have doubted before and achieved results that people did not expect, I’m not saying that’s going to happen next Sunday but you never know! We’ll all put 100% in and what will be will be.”
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Two upgraded models and a brand new one form Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom range for 2016 and all three were unveiled this week in Barcelona. Bike Social was on the scene to have a ride on each too.
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