Moira lad Ian Lowry will re-join the British Superbike circus this Bank Holiday weekend for round three at Oulton Park, after agreeing terms with Motorpoint Yamaha to replace ex World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson.
Lowry, the series' top rookie in 2009, riding for Relentless Suzuki, is looking forward to the challenge.
“I got a call from BSB race director Stuart Higgs a couple of weeks ago after Neil got injured,” explained Lowry.
“I did a 30-lap test at Oulton and got on really well with the Yamaha — I actually lapped as quickly as I had done last year on the Suzuki.
“The bike's characteristics are a bit different, but they are using last year's championship winning chassis and it's a good package so I'm all set for Oulton,” said the series' new number 55.
Lowry, 23, had opted out of BSB this year to pursue a career in the Spanish Moto2 championship — a potential feeder class to MotoGP — but the opening round in Barcelona didn't go quite to plan, with his JMW Fogi Racing machine arriving in boxes only 48 hours before qualifying.
“The first round in Spain was really a disaster for us. With the flight problems and the bike arriving late we were a little unprepared, but that's racing and we'll be sorted for the next round,” explained Lowry enthusiastically.
Lowry's commitment to two championships will see him take in 19 races in the UK and Spain between now and November, and while many feel it's a big ask, the former chef is happy to be getting offered so much track time.
“Up until April I hadn't ridden a bike since the Kings of Wanneroo in Australia last November. It's a big workload and we will be very busy. But it'll all be good fun,” he said.
Lowry will increase local interest in the British Superbike series to four riders, not only taking on his former employers Relentless by TAS Suzuki and their two riders Alastair Seeley and Michael Laverty, but also John Laverty in the Buildbase Kawasaki squad.
Jeremy McWilliams, now 46, will also make a return to the British championship paddock this Bank Holiday, riding in the Harley Davidson XR1200 Trophy.
All the action kicks off on May Day Monday at 1pm.