Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 02 Mar 2015
Smith’s Triumph has refuted claims they signed Guy Martin in favour of Gary Johnson because of the lucrative TV exposure Martin brings.
The Gloucester-based team announced their rider line-up for the 2015 Isle of Man TT Supersport races last week with TV personality Martin heading their Supersport effort alongside David Johnson who will also compete for the team on a BMW in the 1000cc classes.
This meant there was no space in the team for Lincolnshireman Gary Johnson, who took a sensational win for the squad last season to clinch Triumph’s first TT victory since 2003.
Johnson has since hit out at the news in the Belfast Telegraph, saying: “I suppose the lure of Guy and the TV exposure he brings was too hard for them to turn down”.
The team has now refuted that claim, stating Johnson was offered a ride but his financial expectations were too high.
“Whilst delighted to have confirmed our plans of the 2015 TT Races, we have been very disappointed with the subsequent comments on the various media platforms”, said a statement from Team Manager, Rebecca Smith.
“For the record, Gary was offered the Supersport TT ride with us for the 2015 TT back in October 2014, when I met with him at the final round of the MCE British Superbike Championship. Those initial discussions highlighted that Gary’s financial expectations had transformed drastically since him riding for us in 2014 and, whilst we were prepared to improve the package for 2015, they were just too far apart from what our budget allowed and this was made clear at that very early stage. As a team, the deal from our side had not changed logistically. The bike is better having undergone further development work, the crew he would be working with would be the same and the testing plan would have been as 2014.
“I am not prepared to disclose any of the financial discussions that took place between Gary and I as I deem these to be confidential, but I will say that those which have been printed in the media over the last week or so are vastly incorrect. Right up until recently, the deal was still on offer to Gary but we were not prepared to increase our initial offer. We were subsequently approached by Guy Martin who asked if he could acquire a Triumph Daytona 675R from us to use at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Races. As a result, and realising that the 2015 festival was only three months away, and having not reached an agreement with Gary, we agreed to supply that earmarked machine for Guy to use. There is no hidden agenda with the deal with Guy, no television or commercial deals like as some are suggesting. We want to work with him and he wants to work with us, there really is nothing more to it than that.”
Johnson will compete aboard Kawasaki machinery this year’s 1000cc TT races with the factory-backed GBmoto squad. According to Bike Social sources, Johnson will now ride a Kawasaki ZX6-R in the two Supersport encounters.
This year’s Isle of Man TT races will take place between 6th-12th June.