Seeley fired up to help shape the future
Carrickfergus ace Alastair Seeley has been thrown a British Championship lifeline by Spirit Motorcycles, who have employed the former title winner to help develop their Moto2-inspired GP-Sport R machine, which will be campaigned in the British Supersport series this season.
The British Supersport Championship is a hotbed for production-based 600cc machines, which effectively start life as showroom motorcycles. That means the GP-Sport R, complete with its hybrid racing chassis and bespoke parts engineered for the racetrack, will not be allowed to score points in the series.
It could be viewed as a big gamble for Seeley, riding a development machine in a series in which he has previously been a leading contender, but with nothing else on the table it may well allow him to pioneer a class of the future in the hugely successful British Championship paddock.
Speaking of the deal, the former double British champion said: "I'm really happy to be back in the Supersport class on board what is an exciting new project and venture. To be involved with what could be the future of middleweight racing is something I can't wait to get stuck into.
"It's nice to get the call up for my development skills, but I'm also keen to work with the enthusiastic guys at Spirit Motorcycles and my team-mate for the project, Dean Ellison."
Seeley will test the bespoke British motorcycle - which houses a 675cc Triumph triple engine within the British-made Moto2 chassis, complete with uniquely designed components and state-of-the-art electronics, inspired from the Grand Prix paddock, and weighing in at just 140kg - for the first time later this month.
Supported by leading British Championship sponsors Quattro Pant, MD of the project at Spirit Motorcycles, Tony Scott, explained: "Our ambition has always been to produce a prototype series which would help young talent learn the craft of setting up a prototype chassis such as this. It is an excellent way for them to gain the skills needed to filter into the GP paddock with confidence, and we look forward to showing the BSB visitors what we have built with Seeley and Ellison on board."
MCE British Superbike Championship Series Director Stuart Higgs commented: "There is debate over the future of the middleweight British Championship class, as certain manufacturers have announced that 600cc Supersport machinery will cease to be produced in coming years.
"The Spirit project allows us to evaluate in a live and relevant competitive environment, a possible future direction. We will be watching with interest."