By Kyle White Belfast Newsletter.
Ian Hutchinson has been confirmed with Northern Ireland team TAS Racing to ride the new SYNETIQ BMW.
The 16-time Isle of Man TT winner makes his return to the Moneymore-based outfit after previously competing for Philip and Hector Neill’s TAS Racing squad in 2016 and 2017.
Hutchinson clinched a Superbike and Superstock double on the Tyco BMW at the TT in 2017 before breaking his leg in a crash in the Senior, which was caused by a deflated front tyre.
He rode for Honda Racing in 2018 and 2019 without much success and was fortunate to escape serious injury after crashing during qualifying last year at the 11th Milestone.
Motorcycling is in lockdown right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Bingley man Hutchinson said he will be ready to go when racing eventually gets the green light.
As far as the major international road races stands, the Isle of Man TT has been cancelled outright along with the Ulster Grand Prix. May’s North West 200 is officially postponed, although no alternative dates have yet been suggested by the organisers.
The Macau Grand Prix (November 19-21) is currently going ahead as scheduled and could offer the only realistic chance of a road race taking place in 2020.
Hutchinson said: “Putting this deal together with Philip [Neill] and SYNETIQ BMW to do the international road races is perfect for me really,” he said.
“I was secretly hoping that would be the case all winter if I’m honest. I had great success and a lot of fun the last time I rode the S1000RR for TAS Racing, and having prepared so well in January and February, I’m ready to race when all this lockdown is over.”
Hutchinson did plenty of testing in Spain at the beginning of this year before the Covid-19 outbreak brought sport to a standstill.
The 40-year-old rode a Superstock-spec BMW S1000RR supplied by Shaun Muir at Almeria in January and February and also clocked up the miles on his Yamaha R6 Supersport machine.
He is also set to compete in the National Superstock 1000 Championship on a BMW for Shaun Muir, once the British Superbike Championship is giving the all-clear to begin.
TAS Racing team principal, Philip Neill, said: “I honestly thought our racing days with Ian had come to an end after our successful partnership through 2016/17.
“However, we are clearly delighted that Ian was not only available but extremely keen on a return to TAS Racing. People may differ in their opinions on the various riders but one thing everyone can agree on, is the utter determination shown by Hutchy time and time again.
“It never ceases to amaze me the amount of dedication and effort the man puts into his preparation for racing, and for that reason he is the perfect man to lead SYNETIQ BMW into this new chapter of our racing journey.
“We can only hope there is an opportunity available to celebrate the partnership during 2020.”
TAS Racing was set to focus solely on the British Superbike Championship this year with new signings Tarran Mackenzie and Bradley Ray.
However, when new title sponsor SYNETIQ came on board, a late decision was taken to compete at the international road races with Hutchinson.