Blue is the colour for Northern Ireland’s most successful motorcycle racing team next season.
It was a case of back to the future as Hector and Philip Neill’s Moneymore-based TAS Racing team announced their new 2012 title partner and bike at the Motorcycle Live Show in Birmingham.
With the expiry of their six-year deal with energy drink Relentless, the TAS bikes will revert from black to the orginal Suzuki blue and white, under the banner of Tyco Security Products, a world leader in access control, video and intrusion equipment, with a Belfast connection through CEM Systems in the Harbour estate.
The team will be known as Tyco Suzuki on both the international road racing stage and in British Superbikes and yesterday at the NEC, team manager Philip Neill, made it a double header, also announcing his first signing for the 2012 campaign. Josh Brookes will remain with the team for a second year in BSB, and the Australian is confident of being a genuine title contender when the season kicks off in April.
“Although it doesn’t make a lot of difference to me personally, I do think it’s great that we are back to the base colours of Suzuki and also the original colours first used by Hector Neill many years ago,” explained Brookes in his usual straight to the point Aussie style.
TAS, of course, stands for Hector Neill’s Temple Auto Salvage business, and Brooks added: “On the racing side of things it makes perfect sense for me to start another year with the same team and basically the same bike.
“It took a while to get used to the Suzuki and, if I’m honest, it was a bit of a shock to the system. But when it did click we proved how good the package is and we finished the year with the fastest ever two-wheel lap around Brands Hatch.
“That has given me all the confidence in the world in the team and the bike. Another bonus is living in Northern Ireland. Right from the word go I fitted in and I’m looking forward to coming back from Australia in February.”
The team, will announce their British Motocross line-up this weekend, again in the NEC. Four-time British Motocross champion Stephen Sword is already on the books, with Irishman Stuart Edmonds expected to be snapped up for the MX2 class.
That just leaves the second ‘seat’ in the BSB team alongside Brookes to be filled, with the enigmatic Guy Martin, of TV and movie fame, almost certain to take the sole ride for Tyco Suzuki on the international roads.
Alastair Seeley won this season’s British Supersport title with TAS and is most people’s favourite for a return to the premier class, but has opposition in the form of former team member Ian Lowry.