Belfast Telegraph

Hector Neill's team is fired up for big new challenge for 2015

By Paul Lindsay

After 14 headline making seasons with Suzuki, motorcycle road racing team owner and local paddock personality Hector Neill will, alongside his son Philip, steer TAS Racing in a new direction for 2015.

The move away from the Japanese manufacturer has, for the best part, been the worst kept secret in racing, with the paddock pressroom showing more leaks than the Titanic!

But in truth, as Philip Neill explained, the decision to move away from Suzuki was certainly not a knee jerk reaction, and a difficult decision personally.

"I have to be honest and say it will certainly be a challenge to change direction after such a long period of time leading the charge for Suzuki, both in British championship and also on the international road racing scene," said Neill, who also raced Suzuki off-road machinery during his own career in Irish and British motocross.

The father and son pairing have yet to announce the incoming manufacturer deal, but the serious money is on a factory-supported contract with BMW to lead the charge in both British championship and also on the roads.

William Dunlop and Guy Martin are cast iron favourites to be retained on the roads with a few names, including Toome man Michael Laverty, being touted for the BSB line-up.

The German manufacturers are said to be looking for a team that offer 'one size fits all' and this is why the Northern Ireland-based outfit are favourites to take over the factory supported effort from Buildbase BMW in British Superbike, and Michael Dunlop's MD Racing effort on the roads.

To many people it may seem like a strange move, but without an Isle of Man TT win in six seasons and what can only be described as a catastrophic year with American John Hopkins in British Superbike, a change of machinery was of paramount importance: one, to attract top class riders and, two, to keep the all-important sponsors happy.

Speaking on behalf of his whole team, Neill, with a touch of tangible sadness, added: "On behalf of my father Hector and I, I would like to personally thank Suzuki for their support over the years.

"Having enjoyed a long term family relationship with Suzuki, it was an absolute honour to have been given the opportunity to represent the brand.

"I have met and worked with some great people within the Suzuki organisation, many of whom will remain personal friends, which shows the level of mutual respect we have shared over the years.

"I'm sure we will see them in British championship and at the international road races next year, and while we will focus solely on our own success, we certainly wish them well."

An announcement from Suzuki GB is due today, with Halsall Racing favourites to be installed as their new official British Superbike team.

Aussie Josh Waters, who enjoyed two wins on GSX-R machinery this season with TAS Racing, is expected to be their number one rider.

Belfast Telegraph

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