Belfast Telegraph

TT lifeline for Hutchinson and Brookes

By Paul Lindsay

EIGHT-times TT winner Ian Hutchinson and fastest-ever newcomer at the Manx event Josh Brookes have been thrown a potential TT lifeline – after SMR Yamaha team sponsor Milwaukee Power Tools has 'sportingly' decided to reinstate their support for the factory-supported team at this year's event.

Shaun Muir had previously stated that he would not attend this year's TT without his title sponsor, but with Milwaukee back pledging their support and TT man Phillips keen to add them to his international line-up, we are led to believe the deal has now been rubber stamped prior to tomorrow's entry deadline.

Aussie British Superbike star Brookes (pictured), who will return to his Northern Ireland base at the Ards Peninsula on Sunday prior to Spanish testing next week, was delighted at the news.

He explained: "Last week I was happy to find out that I'd be riding a specially built R6 Milwaukee Yamaha at the North West 200, but the TT is the big one for me in terms of road racing.

"I'm delighted Milwaukee is now back on board."

The American-based company (Milwaukee) had initially withdrawn their support, following technical changes for this year's Superbike races, due to the fact that Muir's team would be at a distinct disadvantage in terms of performance.

But not wanting to rob fans of seeing Hutchinson and Brookes at the TT and of course their riders the opportunity to tackle the most famous 37.73 miles of road racing tarmac in the world – Milwaukee is happy to reinstate their support, as they explained.

"After much deliberation Milwaukee Power Tools – title sponsor to SMR Racing in the British Superbike Championship and International Road Racing arena – is happy to support Shaun and his team at this year's Isle of Man TT Races.

"Despite well-publicised feelings on the technical rule changes in the Superbike class, Milwaukee feel that both the team and their high-profile riders, Josh Brookes and Ian Hutchinson, deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their tangible skills in front of their global TT fan base."

The tug-of-war, and 'will they or won't they' debate is finally over. This latest announcement will no doubt have TT fans scrambling to book up the final seats on boats and planes, in a effort to see what is arguably one of the strongest mix of riders and manufacturers the Isle of Man TT Races has ever produced.

The Dunlop versus McGuinness head-to-head was being billed as the biggest grudge match in years, after the Ballymoney man's unceremonious exit at Honda last term.

But when you add in a fully fit Ian Hutchinson on factory-supported Milwaukee Yamahas, and the over-looked Tyco Suzuki duo of Guy Martin and William Dunlop – not forgetting the likes Gary Johnson, James Hillier, Michael Rutter, Conor Cummins and Bruce Anstey – then it's virtually guaranteed to be an epic year on that famous little rock in the Irish Sea.

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