By Richard Petrie BBC Sport NI
Carl Phillips says competing at the North West 200 for the first time in 2019 “gave him a bit of a taste for road racing” after revealing he will ride at the Manx Grand Prix this year.
The Lisburn racer will make his debut on the Mountain Course in August on board Suzuki machinery for PRF Racing.
“I think the time is right to do it now that I’m not competing in the British championship,” said Phillips.
“After doing the North West the obvious next step was to do the Isle of Man.”
Phillips campaigned a Paton in the Supertwins class at last year’s North West, achieving a creditable best finish of eighth place in the opening race.
Manx GP ‘something I’ve always wanted to do’
“My dad Joe competed at ‘the Manx’ for 25 years and finished on the podium twice so I wanted to follow him in supporting the event I grew up with rather than jumping straight into the TT. Maybe the year after I’ll go to the TT,” added the 26-year-old.
“The PRF team have taken me under their wing and given me a lot of help. I did my first six laps of the course a few weeks ago and I’m going over again this weekend.
“It’s all about preparation so I’m going to put the effort in. I don’t know what the future holds but this is something I’ve always wanted to do so I’m going to do it.”
In addition to competing at the North West and the Manx GP in 2020, Phillips will also defend the Ulster Superbike title he won in some style last year, as well as taking in selected Irish national road races.
“I have a new sponsor on board so hopefully that will be a big help and I just want to go out and have fun again. I’ll be on a competitive bike so I’ll just go out and enjoy it.
“I hope to try the Cookstown 100 for the first time but I’m not committed to anything so I’ll just take it as it comes. I’m making my own decisions so I don’t have to answer to anyone.
“I’ll maybe ride a Superstock as well as the Supertwin at the North West – I have more bikes to ride this year than I’ve ever had!”
‘So hard to stay in BSB paddock’
Phillips previously competed successfully on British short circuits, taking runner-up spot in the 2016 National Superstock Championship and securing a series of solid results the following season in Superstock 1000s.
In 2018 he raced in the very competitive British Superbike series for some of the year with Gearlink Kawasaki, picking up points.
“It would be nice to go back to BSB sometime maybe. I made it as far as I thought I could make it and I’m satisfied with what I achieved.
“It was a great experience but it’s just so hard to stay in that paddock. It takes a lot of time and effort and costs a lot of money so I’m just happy doing what I’m doing for now.
“I’ve dedicated my whole life to motorbike racing – now I’ve got myself a decent job I’m earning a few pound instead of spending a fortune on motorbikes while trying to scrimp and save enough to live on.”