Cork’s Mike Browne will fly solo in 2022 as he spearheads top Northern Ireland team Burrows Engineering/RK Racing’s Irish road racing assault.
Browne joined the Co Tyrone outfit – run by former frontrunner Burrows – in 2020, but the 31-year-old has had limited opportunities to shine over the past two seasons as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with only three national road races going ahead during that time.
However, the unassuming dairy farmer gave a timely glimpse of his potential with a coveted victory in the opening Superbike race at September’s Cookstown 100, and Browne is now determined to capitalise on a planned full calendar next year, when he is also set to make his debut at May’s North West 200.
“John is keen to really put a big effort into me and he has put a lot of work into the bikes,” Browne said.
“Any little thing I’ve suggested or asked for with the bikes he has gone above and beyond, so the bikes will be among the best on the grid.
“It’s great to have signed with the team again for another year and they’re a brilliant group be involved with. We got some decent results this year and now we can go into next year with a bit of a head-start.
“The nervousness of riding a big bike has definitely gone and now the aim is to just try and get even faster on the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
“That’s what I want to concentrate on in 2022 and I feel happy and well settled in the team, so everything is looking good and at the moment it seems as though we’ll be in for a busy season.”
Looking ahead to the return of the major road races, Browne said his focus would be centred primarily on the Isle of Man TT, where he finished 18th in the second Supersport race at his debut at the event in 2019.
“The Irish nationals are obviously a big focus for us as a team but the main event in 2022 will be the Isle of Man TT, because I won’t be expecting too much at the North West 200 or the Ulster Grand Prix, where I’ll be going as a newcomer.
“I’m just praying and hoping for a good, dry two weeks at the TT and my main aim will be to try and do a good job for the team over there.”
Team boss Burrows, whose 11-year-old son Jack will make his debut in the Moto3 class at the Ulster short circuit meetings next year, said he believes Browne will continue to polish his reputation as an exciting prospect in 2022.
“As a roads team, national road racing is very close to my heart and that’s where I want to be in 2022 with Mike,” he said.
“We’re focused on making sure he has the best opportunity possible going to each and every race and we will concentrate all our efforts solely on him at the road races next year.
“He’s happy within the team and we are happy with him, so it’s a productive environment and we’re all looking forward to next year,” Burrows said.
“We’re going into 2022 with strong foundation for Mike and I fully believe in his ability to do a good job. I don’t have any expectations or goals set out for him, but I do believe he will achieve good things for us at the national and major road races.”