Honda Racing has announced a new-look line-up for their 2024 Bennetts British Superbike Championship campaign with Andrew Irwin, Dean Harrison, Jack Kennedy, Nathan Harrison and John McGuinness all securing deals for the up-coming year.
2023 was a season to forget for the Louth based factory after failing to achieve a podium for the first time in their history, amassing just 169 points between three riders, Andrew Irwin, Tom Neave and Franco Bourne (Andy’s injury replacement for much of the season).
However, a new-look, five-man attack has been signed for the new season, Irwin and Dean Harrison in the superbike class, Jack Kennedy returning to his gold-plated stomping ground, the Supersport class, on the all-new CBR600RR, with McGuinness and Nathan Harrison focussing on their roads campaign as well as selected National Superstock rounds in preparation.
Harrison and Irwin to team up in Bennetts BSB
Following a career threatening injury mid-way through 2023 after a crash testing at Knockhill, Irwin returns to Honda after testing his fitness during the final two rounds of last season. The Northern-Irishman suffered a severe break of his humerus, much like the injury Marc Marquez has dealt with. But after months on the side-lines, Irwin, who heads into the new season full of confidence with his aim of challenging for the 2024 Championship.
Dean Harrison links up with the Honda Racing team for 2024, after an eight-year stint with the DAO Racing came to end in July, penning a one-year-deal to race for the factory team in the Bennetts BSB Championship and a full road racing campaign.
The Bradford man had shown flashes of brilliance recently in Bennetts BSB, with a handful of top ten finishes in the superbike class at Oulton Park and Knockhill, whilst taking to the podium in each race he contested at the 2023 Isle of Man TT races. Thus, proving he isn’t on the grid to make up the numbers.
Honda will also return to the Quattro Plant British Supersport Championship for 2024 for the the first time since their title winning season in 2009, with four-time Champion Jack Kennedy returning to the series.
Kennedy has his sights set on a fifth British Supersport crown
The Dubliner spent 2023 in the Bennetts BSB class with Mar-Train Yamaha, achieving a season’s best result of fourth place at Donington Park, finishing 10th in the overall standings. But it ultimately wasn’t enough to keep his ride for 2024 with Danny Kent replacing him.
Joining Dean Harrison on the ‘road’ racing side of the outfit will be his namesake Nathan Harrison and 23-time TT winner John McGuinness. Both Harrison’s will content both big bike races at the international road races, as well as the Supersport class. McGuinness will focus on the ‘big bike’ races, contesting in the superbike and superstock classes.
All riders will contest their respective campaigns on-board the all-new models released by Honda for 2024, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and the CBR600RR, both of which will be on display at Motorcycle Live.
“I am delighted to welcome all of our riders, those returning and joining us for the 2024 season,” said Team Manager Havier Beltran. “It is certainly going to be an extremely exciting year for Honda with our expanded rider line-up and growth into a variety of racing classes on both the roads and on the short circuits in BSB. Retaining Andrew’s services was a priority as we never really got the chance to display what he is capable of this year. He is a Honda winner, and he has all the potential to be a winner once more with this new Fireblade. Dean is also more than capable of strong results in this series, and we welcome him into the team.
“Returning to British Supersport with the Honda CBR600RR and a rider of Jack Kennedy’s calibre is also thoroughly exciting, we return to this series with championship-winning ambition. Jack is a rider of exceptional talent, and I can see that he is going to be a valuable team member.
“With regards to the roads, I truly believe that our road racing line-up perfectly balances youthful enthusiasm, experience, talent and ambition, and I eagerly look forward to witnessing Dean, John and Nathan compete with these new models. Dean is one of the most compelling riders to witness on the roads and I am confident that we can provide him with the machinery to display his remarkable talents.
“Keeping John for another year is simply brilliant, he and Honda share so much history and he brings so much to this team that continuing for another year was a very easy decision to make. 2023 was a tough year for Nathan but he never lost his determination or the smile on his face. This was always about progression, building into things and taking our time to grow together, continuing that journey with him will be fantastic.”