Belfast Telegraph

Tall rider Conor set to ride high for TAS Suzuki

By Paul Lindsay

Who will ride for Hector Neill's TAS Suzuki team at this year's international road races has been one of the most hotly debated topics amongst motorcycling fans since before the New Year.

And now it’s official — 25-year-old Manxman Conor Cummins, the victim of a horror smash at the 2010 Isle of Man TT, will ride in the all-new colours of the rebranded Tyco Suzuki by TAS Racing team in 2012.

In an ironic twist of fate, Cummins has switched from Cookstown-based McAdoo Racing to their near neighbours, and rivals, TAS Racing in Moneymore, for whom he’ll campaign factory supported Suzukis in all three international road races during 2012 - the Relentless North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.

Before his high-speed accident at the Verandah during the blue riband Senior TT in 2010, which resulted in multiple injuries for the lofty Manxman, Cummins was regarded by many as the main threat to 15-time TT winner, John McGuinness’ Superbike reign.

And despite the disappointment of breaking down whilst leading the TT Superbike event in 2010, followed less than a week later with the aforementioned 140mph smash, Ramsey’s bionic man is now fighting fit and looking forward to the next chapter in his racing career.

“I’m absolutely, ridiculously thrilled to be riding for a major factory outfit like Tyco Suzuki,” beamed the 6ft 4ins Manxman.

He added: “I’m just relishing the thought now of getting aboard that big ‘Gixer thousand’. It’s a major stride for my career to be working with Hector and his son Philip Neill’s team and all the boys at TAS Racing, who have a wealth of experience.”

Always the gentleman racer, Cummins was also more than complementary towards his former employers at McAdoo Racing,

insisting: “I mustn’t forget what Winston and Jason McAdoo have done for me. They have helped me get where I am in my career so far, and for that I am eternally grateful. I spoke to Jason recently and he has been brilliant about it all and very understanding.”

Conor made a miraculous recovery and returned to racing, somewhat against the odds, at the start of 2011, and despite being only 60 per cent fit, he believes it helped exorcise his demons and put the past firmly in the past.

“I was in less than perfect shape last year, but that first lap at the TT put the demons to bed and after that it was just a matter of doing my best and getting through the event. I’ve been training six days a week all winter and I’d say I’m as fit, if not fitter, than I was before the incident in 2010 TT,” he said.

Conor’s 2012 race programme will include rounds of the British Superstock series and hand-picked road races like the Southern 100, but his main focus, as he admitted, is on his home circuit on Mona’s Isle.

“Yeah the TT is the main focus, but I wouldn’t want that to take anything away from the other international road races. I’ll be giving it my all in every class, but the Superbike races are where the kudos are and I’ve always wanted my name on that Senior TT trophy,” he smiled.

He concluded by saying: “I’m built for a Superbike. Those are the races I want to win at the TT, but I won’t be making any bold statements. I’ll be trying my heart out to win for Tyco Suzuki and with Hutchy back and all the usual suspects in McGuinness, Donald, Anstey and Guy Martin there — the competition will be fierce.

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