Alastair Seeley can fly high in bid for NW200 record
The Vauxhall International North West 200's joint most successful racer, Alastair Seeley, will return to the Triangle seeking his 16th victory in May with the Royal Air Force BMW team.
The Carrickfergus man, who finished runner-up in last year's British Superstock title race, will also return to the British Superbike series on an S1000RR, having last raced in the championship in 2012.
At both the North West 200 and in BSB, the 36-year-old will be able to call upon the experience he gleaned from riding the BMW Superbike in Tyco livery last season.
"It is great to be back in the Superbike Championship, the elite class, again," Seeley smiled as the deal, which had been widely reported, was confirmed.
"I have been there before and know what it takes.
"I have obviously been keeping a close eye on BSB and it looks like it is not going to be easy with the level of riders on the grid and everyone is so close on times - but that is good for me and I am ready for the challenge."
Team owner Lee Hardy said he was very pleased to have Seeley in his RAF backed team as a replacement for Peter Hickman who won an Ulster Grand Prix Superbike race and the Macau Grand Prix on Hardy's BMWs in 2015.
Hickman, who is the event's fastest ever newcomer, had to sit out last year' s North West because of injury and Hardy is delighted to be back at the Triangle after last year's enforced absence.
"The North West 200 race meeting is an incredible event which kicks off the whole road race season, a week's racing in what can only be described as an amazing back drop," Hardy explained.
"Mervyn Whyte and his team do a fantastic job each year and deserve a year of kind weather and fast racing."
Seeley will ride a stock spec S1000RR in the Superstock class in May and a Gearlink ZXR600RR Kawasaki in the Supersport class.
Hardy admitted that he will be under pressure to deliver machinery that will allow Seeley to clinch his 16th NW200 victory and move clear of the late Robert Dunlop's tally of 15 wins that the diminutive Carrickfergus ace shares.
"As a team manager there is a lot of pressure this year with Alastair in the team, he is aiming to take the all time record of races wins off and we are hoping that this will be the case," he said.
"I am confident that the RAF BMW S1000RR machine we build and run will give him the tools to do the job."
Hardy's squad will also retain the support of Briggs Equipment as well as the RAF in 2016.