Isle of Man TT star, Ian ‘Hutchy’ Hutchinson, has been confirmed to ride in the British Superbike Championship in 2014 and is determined to make the most of his “big opportunity”. Hutchinson has joined the newly-formed FFX Yamaha Team, a satellite offshoot of Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha outfit.
The 34-year old West Yorkshire-man will be making his full competitive debut in BSB having previously raced on the short circuits in the Superstock and Supersport support series’ as well as a handful of replacement rider appearances in BSB. He moves up to the premier British racing class on the back of his outstanding recent victory at the Macau Grand Prix, his first race in 18 months.
Hutchinson has enjoyed the majority of his racing success at the Isle of Man TT, with 5 of his 8 wins coming during his sensational clean sweep at the 2010 event. Only three months later he suffered a horrific accident at Silverstone and has endured no fewer than 29 operations and skin grafts since. He’s virtually lived in an external fixator but as the Macau GP proved, he’s not lost any of his racing ability and mental strength.
Hutchinson said: “I have been aiming to race in the Championship for several years and I had the chance a few seasons ago but I had setbacks with my injury so this feels like a big opportunity for me. This whole season means a lot to me personally because I have done a couple of rounds before but never a whole Championship and I am excited that we have the chance to learn and progress throughout the year. I have my own targets and ambitions but I am going to take it as it comes because we know we have a well-developed bike with the Yamaha and that should make my first season an easier scenario."
Team Principal Gary Ekerold said: “This is a fantastic announcement for 2014. I’m really looking forward to working with him (Hutchinson) and as a rider I don’t think he should ever be underestimated. He is renowned for his incredible success on the roads and now wants to demonstrate what he’s capable of when it comes to BSB and I believe will bring yet another dimension to the series.
“So, as a team our ambition is clear, and that is to win and be consistently at the sharp end, however our expectation, is to build steadily throughout the year and establish this team within the British Championship.”
FFX are reported to be sharing technical knowledge with SMR and the team have also signed Northern Irish rider Andy Reid to compete in the Superstock 600 series. The competitive Reid was a regular front-runner during the Motostar Championship in 2013 where he only competed in the 2nd half of the season yet still secured 3 victories.