After various high profile announcements throughout November and December, it’s worth re capping how the 2018 international roads rider/team jigsaw is shaping up.
Most significantly it’s all change at Honda Racing, with RST Superbike TT champion Ian Hutchinson and six times international road race winner Lee Johnston forming a new look rider line up for a team that’s ultra keen to reaffirm themselves as front runners at the premier international events.
Photo by Rod Neill
The evergreen Bruce Anstey remains in the Padgetts Racing fold for an eighth successive season, he’s likely to be joined again in the Batley based outfit by Manxman Conor Cummins.
BMW will again have a vast presence next year, with high profile rider/team combinations including Dan Kneen/Tyco BMW, Peter Hickman/Smiths Racing, Derek Sheils/Penz 13 BMW and Jamie Coward/Radcliffe’s Racing.
Additionally rising star Adam McLean will step aboard BMW Motorrad machinery for the first time in 2018, competing for the ambitious Team IMR (Ian Moffitt Racing) outfit.
World’s fastest road racer Dean Harrison remains with Silicone Engineering Racing, whilst fellow Kawasaki mainstay James Hillier sticks with Pete Extrance’s Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki team.
Another combination to remain in place is that of former Duke Road Race Rankings James Cowton, and McAdoo Racing.
Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki team is confirmed to run four 650 Kawasaki’s at TT 2018, with one of them piloted by event returnee Derek McGee.
Looking towards Yamaha’s challenge, the only racers at present announced to pilot the marques improving YZF R1M in Superstock or Superbike trim, are TT Privateers champion Horst Saiger and Martimotos backed Raul Torras Martinez.
John Burrows proven Cookstown BE Racing outfit has a mix of youth and experience next year, with Derek Sheils still on board with the team for the national meets joined by upcoming rising roads talent Davey Todd, who will lead the teams internationals tenure.
Triangle wizard Alastair Seeley will lead EHA Racing’s North West 200 Supersport challenge, the event record holder is also anticipated to pilot BMW’s in the 1000cc races.
Outside of the factory, semi works and high profile independent teams, many private outfits have also in recent times unveiled their plans for 2018.
This includes the improving DTR (Danny Tomlinson Racing) team who in conjunction with McKinstry Racing are running prospective Mountain Course newcomer, New Zealand’s Daniel Mettam.
Senior Manx GP winner Michael Evans, is set to be Kawasaki mounted for the big bike encounters of TT 2018, whilst the popular The Peoples Bike Team has secured for TT 2018, the services of Mountain Course newcomer David ‘Action’ Jackson and Welshman Rhys Hardisty.
Team ILR’s Joe Thompson will have a factory Paton for the Super Twin encounters at the international road races.
Fellow front running class marque CF Moto are also expected to have at least a one rider team at TT 2018.
Added teams/manufacturers still to unveil their plans for next season include Norton who if rumours are to believed are actively trying to sign a certain multi times TT winner, Buildbase Suzuki, Suter, RC Express Racing, PRF Racing and Wilson Craig Racing.
Plus could current World Superbike Championship competitors Shaun Muir Racing be making a TT comeback? it’s one of many fascinating questions that will be answered in the next few months, as we gradually gain an in depth outlook on the team/rider line ups for the 2018 international roads season.
Words by Stevie Rial